The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10

Author: Susan B. Anthony  | Date: 1873

Susan B. Anthony

On Woman’s Right to the Suffrage*
(1873)

It was we, the people; not we, the white malecitizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people—women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government—the ballot.

For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is to pass a bill of attainder, or an ex post facto law, and is therefore a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are for ever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household—which ordainsall men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation.

Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office.

The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several States is to-day null and void, precisely as in every one against negroes.

*Delivered in 1873 after she had been arrested, put on trial, and fined one hundred dollars for voting at the presidential election in 1872. She refused to pay the fine and never did pay it.

Download Options


Title: The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options


Title: The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Susan B. Anthony, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 59–61. Original Sources, accessed July 11, 2020, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=M1E9GHSZZA896GX.

MLA: Anthony, Susan B. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. The World#8217;s Famous Orations, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, pp. 59–61. Original Sources. 11 Jul. 2020. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=M1E9GHSZZA896GX.

Harvard: Anthony, SB, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 10. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.59–61. Original Sources, retrieved 11 July 2020, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=M1E9GHSZZA896GX.