Tuesday, November 06, 2007

November 5, 1872:

Susan B. Anthony Votes for President

November 5 saw a number of presidential elections, including Grant's second victory in 1872, Wilson defeating TR and Taft in 1912, FDR winning an unprecedented third term in 1940, Nixon narrowly beating Humphrey in 1968 and Clinton's re-election in 1996. It was also the day, in the 1872 Grant-Greeley contest, that Susan B. Anthony famously cast a vote.

The companion web site to the In Search of Heroes video series describes the legal wrangling that ensued: "On November 1, 1872 she went to register to vote in Rochester, New York, along with three other women. Two election inspectors named Edwin Marsh and Beverly W. Jones at first refused, but... they eventually consented. By the end of the period of registration, 50 women had registered to vote in Rochester. On election day, November 5, 1872, Anthony voted for the first time. On November 18, she was served an arrest warrant.

"The trial began the following summer in Canandaiga, New York, southeast of Rochester. Her counsel was Henry R. Seldon, who was a close personal friend and was sympathetic to the cause of suffrage. The prosecuting attorney was Richard Crowley. On the bench was Judge Ward Hunt. After presentation of the opposing arguments in the case, the jury was abruptly directed by the judge to return a verdict of guilty. Seldon protested and demanded that the jury be polled, but he was cut off.

The next day, Anthony attempted to speak on her own behalf but was stopped by Judge Hunt. She was fined $100 but was not jailed. This was a calculated move, obviously planned in advance, that prevented Anthony from appealing the case to the United States Supreme Court. Susan B. Anthony never paid the $100, and eventually the matter was dropped. Three election inspectors who allowed the women to register were tried the day Anthony was sentenced. They were convicted of breaking election laws and fined $25 each. Two of these men, including Edwin Marsh, refused to pay their fines and were jailed. Anthony appealed to her senator and the men received a pardon from President Grant."

Anthony did manage to speak to the judge about the matter of the $100 fine, however: "May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper [The Revolution] ...the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your manmade, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprision, and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government... I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim that 'Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.' "

1 comment:

Curtis J Neeley Jr said...

The pending Neeley v Federal Communications Commissioners, et al, (5:13-cv-5293) looks very soon to be just as unfairly handled but will impact ALL of society and not just the females. Crimes are therein excused for GOOG and MSFT.