October 26, 2014 05:56 UTC

People in America

Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906:  She Led the Fight to Gain Equal Rights for Women, Including the Right to Vote

The nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution won final approval in 1920 but she did not live to see it. <em>Transcript of radio broadcast:</em>

VOICE ONE:

People in America, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.

In the eighteen fifties, women in the United States began to try to gain the same rights as men. One woman was a leader in the campaign to gain women the right to vote. I'm Stan Busby.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Today we tell about a fighter for rights for women, Susan B. Anthony.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

In seventeen seventy-six, a new nation declared its freedom from Britain. The Declaration of Independence was the document written to express the reasons for seeking that freedom. It stated that all men were created equal. It said that all men had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

VOICE TWO:

Not every citizen of the new United States of America had one important right, however. That was the right to vote. At first, the only people permitted to vote in the United States were white men who owned property and could read. By eighteen sixty, most white male citizens over the age of twenty-one had the right to vote.

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution gave black male citizens the right to vote. These amendments were passed in eighteen sixty-eight and eighteen seventy.

VOICE ONE:

Women were not really full citizens in America in the eighteen hundreds. They had no economic independence.

For example, everything a woman owned when she got married belonged to her husband. If a married woman worked, the money she made belonged to her husband. In addition, women had no political power. They did not have the right to vote.

In the eighteen fifties, women organized in an effort to gain voting rights. Their campaign was called the women's suffrage movement. Suffrage means the right to vote. American women sought to gain that right for more than seventy years.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

One of the leaders of the movement was Susan B. Anthony of Massachusetts. Miss Anthony was a teacher. She believed that women needed economic and personal independence. She also believed that there was no hope for social improvement in the United States until women were given the same rights as men. The rights included the right to vote in public elections.

VOICE ONE:

Susan B. Anthony was born in eighteen twenty. Her parents were members of the Quaker religion. She became one, too. The Quakers believed that the rights of women should be honored. They were the first religious group where women shared the leadership with men.

VOICE TWO:

As a young woman, Susan had strong beliefs about justice and equality for women and for black people. And she was quick to speak out against what she believed was not just.

Many young men wanted to marry her. But she could not consider marrying a man who was not as intelligent as she. She once said: "I can never understand why intelligent girls should want to marry fools just to get married. Many are willing to do so. But I am not. "

She did meet some young men who were intelligent. But it always seemed that they expected women to be their servants, not their equals.

VOICE ONE:

Susan B. Anthony became a school teacher in New York state. She realized that women could never become full citizens without some political power. They could never get such power until they got the right to vote. She went from town to town in New York state trying to get women interested in their right to vote. But they did not seem interested. Miss Anthony felt this was because women were not able to do anything for themselves. They had no money or property of their own. The struggle seemed long and hard. She said:

VOICE TWO:

"As I went from town to town, I understood more and more the evil we must fight. The evil is that women cannot change anything as long as they must depend on men for their very lives. Women cannot change anything until they themselves are independent. They cannot be free until they have the legal right to own property and to keep the money they make by working."

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Miss Anthony went to every city, town and village in New York state. She organized meetings in schools, churches, and public places. Everywhere she went, she carried pamphlets urging rights for women.

She urged the lawmakers of New York to change the state law and give women the right to own property. Her campaign in New York failed at that time. But elsewhere the struggle for women's rights was making progress.

VOICE TWO:

In eighteen fifty-one, Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Missus Stanton also supported equal rights for women. Missus Stanton had many children. She needed to remain at home to raise her large family. Miss Anthony, however, was not married. She was free to travel, to speak, and to organize for the women's rights movement. The two women cooperated in leading the fight to gain rights for women in the United States.

Their first important success came in eighteen sixty when New York finally approved a married woman's law. For the first time in New York, a married woman could own property. And, she had a right to the money she was paid for work she did.

At last, Miss Anthony's campaign was beginning to show results. The campaign spread to other states.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The end of the American Civil War in eighteen sixty-five freed Negroes from slavery. Susan B. Anthony felt that there was still much to be done to get full freedom -- for Negroes and also for women. She began to campaign for the right for Negroes and women to vote.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was approved in eighteen sixty-eight. It gave Negro men the right to vote. But it did not give women the right to vote.

VOICE TWO:

Susan B. Anthony led efforts to have voting rights for women included in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Her efforts were not successful. Then Miss Anthony decided to test the legal basis of the Fourteenth Amendment. She did this during the presidential election of eighteen seventy-two.

On election day, Miss Anthony led a group of women to vote in Rochester, New York. Two weeks later, Miss Anthony was arrested. She was charged with voting although she had no legal right to do so.

VOICE ONE:

Before her trial, Susan B. Anthony traveled around New York state. She spoke to many groups about the injustice of denying women the right to vote. She said:

VOICE TWO:

"Our democratic, republican government is based on the idea that every person shall have a voice and a vote in making the laws and putting them to work. It is we, the people -- all the people -- not just white men or men only, who formed this nation. We formed it to get liberty not just for half of us -- not just for half of our children -- but for all, for women as well as men.

"Is the right to vote a necessary right of citizens? To my mind, it is a most important right. Without it, all other rights are nothing. "

VOICE ONE:

Susan B. Anthony was tried and found guilty of violating the law. She was ordered to pay one hundred dollars as a punishment. She said the law was wrong. She refused to pay.

Miss Anthony then led efforts to gain voting rights for women through a new amendment to the Constitution. She traveled across the country to campaign for such an amendment until she was seventy-five years old. In nineteen-oh-four, she spoke to a committee of the United States Senate for the last time. The committee was discussing the proposal for an amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote. She knew the victory would come. But she also knew it would not come while she was alive.

VOICE TWO:

Susan B. Anthony died in nineteen-oh-six at the age of eighty-six. Thirteen years later, in nineteen nineteen, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment stated that the right to vote shall not be denied because of a person's sex.

The amendment had to be approved by three-fourths of the states. It won final approval on August twenty-sixth, nineteen twenty. It was called the Anthony Amendment, to honor Susan B. Anthony.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

This Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Stan Busby.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for another People in America program on the Voice of America.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Anti-Occupy Central protesters (L) try to remove a barricade from pro-democracy protesters on a main street in Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district October 4, 2014.

    Audio US Group Rejects Claims It Incited Hong Kong Protests

    Chinese media have been criticizing the National Endowment for Democracy. They accuse the US-based group of providing money to and advising the “Occupy” street protest movement. The group says it takes part in normal cooperation with civic groups in Hong Kong. But it says it has nothing to hide. More

  • A rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon ship lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 18, 2014.

    Audio You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Read This

    "You do not need to be a rocket scientist." Americans hear these words often. People say them in schools, offices and factories. Broadcasters on radio and television use them. How did the expression begin? No one seems to know for sure. But you can find out by reading this Words and Their Stories. More

  • Audio Control of US Senate Depends on North Carolina

    U.S. congressional elections are less than two weeks away. A small number of races will decide if the Democratic party keeps control of the U.S. Senate or if Republicans will have a majority. One of the closest Senate races is in the state of North Carolina between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. More

  • Freed Vietnamese dissident Nguyen Van Hai (L) is greeted upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport on October  21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Vietnamese blogger, also known by his pen name "Dieu Cay," was handed a 12-year prison sentenc

    Audio Legality of Vietnamese Blogger’s Release Questioned

    Nguyen Van Hai arrived in the United States on Wednesday. Hai is one of Vietnam’s best known political bloggers. He has written about government corruption and the country’s territorial dispute with China. The United States was among several foreign governments to call for his release. More

  • A miner sifts through dirt for gold flakes at the Atunso Cocoase small-scale mine, Atunsu, Ghana, Oct. 16, 2014. (Chris Stein/VOA)

    Audio Gold Mining in Ghana Can Be Dangerous

    Small mining operations are a common sight in central Ghana. Here, mine workers dig deep into the earth in search of bullion. But not everyone returns alive. Earlier this year, six miners were killed when an earthen wall collapsed in Kyekyewere, a village in the Ashanti Region. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Oscar de la Renta Dressed First Ladies and Movie Stars

    Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in the American state of Connecticut. He was 82 years old. His wife said he died of problems related to cancer. Mr. de la Renta dressed American movie stars and first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. More

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs