Today in History: March 8
Susan B. Anthony and Congress
We appear before you this morning…to ask that you will, at your earliest convenience, report to the House in favor of the submission of a Sixteenth Amendment to the Legislatures of the several States, that shall prohibit the disfranchisement of citizens of the United States on account of sex.
Susan B. Anthony
S. A. Taylor, photographer, circa 1880-1906.
By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920
Thus Susan B. Anthony began her address before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives on March 8, 1884. In her statement printed in the 1884 document Congressional Action in the First session of the 48th Congress, 1883, 1884, Anthony argued for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony's argument came sixteen years after legislators had first introduced a federal woman's suffrage amendment.
During the four days before Anthony addressed the House Committee, she participated in the National Woman Suffrage Association's sixteenth annual convention in Washington, D.C. On the last day of the convention, Anthony went before the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage and remarked:
This is the sixteenth year that we have come before Congress in person, and the nineteenth by petitions. Ever since the war, from the winter of 1865-'66, we have regularly sent up petitions asking for the national protection of the citizen's right to vote when the citizen happens to be a woman. We are here again for the same purpose.
Susan B. Anthony to the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, March 7, 1884, Congressional Action in the First Session of the 48th Congress, 1883, 1884, 16.
Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
It took many more years of arguing before the suffrage amendment passed. Not until June 4, 1919, did Congress approve what was nicknamed the "Anthony Amendment" in honor of the leader who had died in 1906. On August 18, 1920, the states ratified it as the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
- For an overview of the suffrage movement, see the timeline One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage, a feature of the American Memory collection Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921. Search this collection on the phrase Susan B. Anthony using the FULL TEXT option, to find more documents related to Anthony.
- View the finding aid for the Susan B. Anthony Papers that are housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library. Additional items from her papers are featured elsewhere on the Library's Web site. The American Memory collection Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years includes an 1896 letter of Anthony's discussing women ministers. American Women, another American Memory collection, includes a handwritten copy of an 1859 speech on another cause Anthony championed—the abolition of slavery. Search this collection for additional information on Women’s Suffrage materials found throughout the Library of Congress.
- The Library's exhibition American Treasures of the Library of Congress features Anthony's personal copy of An Account of the Proceedings on the Trial of Susan B. Anthony. Additional copies of this document can be found in the collection Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921.
- Other American Memory collections that document the woman suffrage campaign include the Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911 and Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party.
- Additional Today in History features on women's suffrage include:
- the 1793 birth of Lucretia Mott
- the 1815 birth of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- the 1854 Ohio Woman's Rights Convention
- the 1869 decision by the Wyoming Territory to grant women the right to vote
- the 1873 legal argument by Carrie Burnham
- the 1885 birth of Alice Paul
- the 1917 arrest of suffragists in front of the White House