"All white men and all women black and white, get their right to vote from the state. All black men from the United States!!!"Susan B. Anthony Autograph Letter Signed. One page with integral blank, 5.25" x 8.25", Rochester, New York, July 23, 1873. Addressed to an unknown recipient, the civil rights crusader transmits her signature, one month after her trial, The United States v. Susan B. Anthony, in full: "Yes - young friend. You shall have the autograph of the United States Citizen in whose case Judge Hunt denies the right to a voice in the Government, the citizens right unless the citizen be a man of color - all white men and all women black and white, get their right to vote from the state. All black men from the United States!!!"
In 1787, during the U.S. Constitutional Convention, individual states were allowed to decide their own voting qualifications. Women, who had enjoyed the right to vote in several states, were instantly barred from voting, except in New Jersey. New Jersey continued to allow women to vote until 1807, when it too revoked their voting rights, leaving only white men with the power to vote. This would remain the status quo until the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which granted all citizens, regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," the right to vote. Former slaves had been granted citizenship and equal protection under the law two years earlier with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and now black men would have the right to vote, but women of any color did not.
Two years before Anthony wrote this letter, the National Woman Suffrage Association began to urge woman to vote based on their interpretation of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, whereby "all persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States" and that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges . . . of citizens of the United States." During the 1872 presidential election, Anthony and fourteen other women successfully voted in Rochester, New York. However, thirteen days later, on November 18, 1872, she was arrested for illegally voting. Her trial began on June 17, 1873, and was presided over by Justice Ward Hunt, a recent appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court and former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals.
Anthony maintained that she was guaranteed the right to vote by the Constitution and that she had broken no laws. Refusing to allow her to testify, he ordered the jury to find her guilty. She was ordered to pay a fine of $100 -- a fine she refused to pay.
Condition: Unevenly toned along the upper margin and upper right and lower right corners. Small water spot near the right edge. Mounting remnants on the verso.
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