Susan B. Anthony was passionate about women’s rights, abolition, and the temperance movement. Even when she was old, she was full of energy and determination.
- Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts in 1820. Her father, Daniel Anthony, was a Quaker. Her mother, Lucy Read, was a Methodist.
- Daniel attended the local Quaker church but he was disliked there because his wife was not a Quaker. The church later disowned him because he held a dance school in his home.
- Susan was the second oldest of seven children. All her family was involved in social causes. Her father was a strong abolitionist. Two of her brothers moved to Kansas to support anti-slavery.
- Daniel encouraged all his children to learn skills and prepare to take care of themselves.
- The family moved to Battenville, New York when Susan was six years old. Daniel managed a cotton mill.
- Susan passed out anti-slavery fliers when she was 16. She also helped with the Underground Railroad.
- At age seventeen, Susan went to a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia. The school was very strict. She had to leave the school after only one term because her father had lost everything in the Panic of 1837, a financial crisis similar to 2008.
- She became a teacher in a Quaker boarding school to help her family. She discovered there that she earned about a quarter of what the male teachers were paid. She was frustrated and angry by this unfairness.
- The family later moved to a farm in Rochester, New York. There Susan met many other activists, such as Frederick Douglass. Susan ran the family farm for a few years before devoting herself full-time to working on the issues that were important to her.
- In 1851, Susan met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who would become a lifelong friend and work partner. The two would spend many years writing and lecturing together. They worked to end slavery, give women equal rights including the right to vote and equal pay, and outlaw alcohol sales.
- Elizabeth had seven children. Susan often watched the children so Elizabeth could write. Elizabeth developed the ideas and speeches. Susan rented halls, organized events, and gave the speeches.
- Abolitionist: someone who works to end slavery
- Temperance: the movement to end alcohol sales and use
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why was drinking alcohol considered so bad?
Answer: Mostly because of laws that discriminated against women. Women could not work or have their own property. Nor could they divorce their husbands. If a man used his paycheck to buy alcohol or abused his wife and children while drunk, women had little choice but to put up with it. Temperance laws were designed to help protect women and children.
Watch a video about Susan B. Anthony.