328. Susan B. Anthony: The First Women's Rights Activist

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Long before the women's movement of the late 1960s and 70s, lived a 19th Century woman by the name of Susan B. Anthony. Anthony was fighting for women's rights long before the social revolution 50 years ago. She was born in 1820 to a Quaker family. Quakers are a close-knit, faith-based group of people who live a very simple and strict life. It is a traditional way of life where gender roles are clearly defined.

She spent much of her early life fighting for social change. She was an anti-slavery abolitionist, teacher, author, and was a leading figure in gaining women the right to vote, and to hold office. The suffrage movement was designed to gain voting rights for women who previously had no voice in government. Another social cause Anthony was heavily involved with was the anti-slavery movement. Anthony made her family farm available for like-minded people to have anti-slavery meetings. She was involved in the abolitionist movement until the end of the American Civil War, when slavery was abolished. She then turned her attention to women's rights.

Anthony founded a weekly publication called "The Revolution", which she used to publish women's rights literature. The newspaper's motto was "Men their rights, and nothing more; women their rights, and nothing less."

In 1872, after touring the country trying to build momentum for women's rights, she illegally voted in the presidential election. She was arrested and fined, even though she fought. Anthony never paid the fine. The incident served to bring more awareness to the struggle women had to endure. Anthony fought the good fight until her death in 1905 at the age of 84. She is honored today by the United States mint with the Susan B. Anthony $1 coin.

          

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