1. Education

Susan B. Anthony Quotes

(1820-1906)

By

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony (adapted from an image courtesy Library of Congress)

Working closely with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony was a primary organizer, speaker, and writer for the 19th century women's rights movement in the United States, especially the first phases of the long struggle for women's vote, the women's suffrage movement or woman suffrage movement.

Selected Susan B. Anthony Quotations

• Independence is happiness.

• Men - their rights and nothing more; Women - their rights and nothing less.

• Failure is impossible.

• The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball -- the further I am rolled the more I gain.

• It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.

• Suffrage is the pivotal right.

• The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it.

• Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.

• It would be ridiculous to talk of male and female atmospheres, male and female springs or rains, male and female sunshine.... how much more ridiculous is it in relation to mind, to soul, to thought, where there is as undeniably no such thing as sex, to talk of male and female education and of male and female schools. [written with Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

• [T]here never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.

• There is not the woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence, no matter whether it be from the hand of father, husband, or brother; for any one who does so eat her bread places herself in the power of the person from whom she takes it.

• 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 today null and void, precisely as is every one against Negroes.

• One-half of the people of this nation to-day are utterly powerless to blot from the statute books an unjust law, or to write there a new and a just one.

• The women, dissatisfied as they are with this form of government, that enforces taxation without representation, -- that compels them to obey laws to which they have never given their consent, -- that imprisons and hangs them without a trial by a jury of their peers, that robs them in marriage, of the custody of their own persons, wages and children, -- are this half of the people left wholly at the mercy of the other half, in direct violation of the spirit and letter of the declarations of the framers of this government, every one of which was based on the immutable principle of equal rights to all.

• The rank and file are not philosophers, they are not educated to think for themselves, but simply to accept, unquestioned, whatever comes.

• Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

• I can't say that the college-bred woman is the most contented woman. The broader her mind the more she understands the unequal conditions between men and women, the more she shafes under a government that tolerates it.

• I never felt I could give up my life of freedom to become a man’s housekeeper.  When I was young, if a girl married poor she became a housekeeper and a drudge. If she married wealthy, she became a pet and a doll.

on foreign policy: How can you not be all on fire? ... I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don't wake up --and raise your voice in protest against the impending crime of this nation upon the new islands it has clutched from other folks. Do come into the living present and work to save us from any more barbaric male governments.

• Many abolitionists have yet to learn the ABC of woman's rights.

• What you should say to outsiders is that a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our Association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself shall not stand upon it.

• I tell them I have worked 40 years to make the W.S. platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon.

• The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God.

• I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.

• Before mothers can be rightly held responsible for the vices and crimes, for the general demoralization of society, they must possess all possible rights and powers to control the conditions and circumstances of their own and their children's lives. (1901)

• If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.

• Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.

• often attributed to Anthony, this quote about prohibiting abortions was in Revolution in 1869, an anonymous letter signed "A."  Other articles by Anthony were not signed in that manner.

Much as I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder, earnestly as I desire its suppression, I cannot believe ... that such a law would have the desired effect. It seems to me to be only mowing off the top of the noxious weed, while the root remains. We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.

To my certain knowledge this crime is not confined to those whose love of ease, amusement and fashionable life leads them to desire immunity from the cares of children: but is practiced by those whose inmost souls revolt from the dreadful deed, and in whose hearts the maternal feeling is pure and undying. What, then has driven these women to the desperation necessary to force them to commit such a deed? This question being answered, I believe, we shall have such an insight into the matter as to be able to talk more clearly of a remedy.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewi. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Susan B. Anthony Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/qu_s_b_anthony.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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