Susan B. Anthony Said it All

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As a matter of outward form the defendant was asked if she had anything to say why the sentence of the court should not be pronounced upon her.

“Yes, your honor,” replied Miss Anthony, “I have many things to say. My every right, constitutional, civil, political and judicial has been tramped upon. I have not only had no jury of my peers, but I have had no jury at all.”

Court—”Sit down Miss Anthony. I cannot allow you to argue the question.”

Miss Anthony—”I shall not sit down. I will not lose my only chance to speak.”

Court—”You have been tried, Miss Anthony, by the forms of law, and my decision has been rendered by law.”

Miss Anthony—”Yes, but laws made by men, under a government of men, interpreted by men and for the benefit of men. The only chance women have for justice in this country is to violate the law, as I have done, and as I shall continue to do,” and she struck her hand heavily on the table in emphasis of what she said. “Does your honor suppose that we obeyed the infamous fugitive slave law which forbade to give a cup of cold water to a slave fleeing from his master? I tell you we did not obey it; we fed him and clothed him, and sent him on his way to Canada. So shall we trample all unjust laws under foot. I do not ask the clemency of the court. I came into it to get justice, having failed in this, I demand the full rigors of the law.”

Court—”The sentence of the court is $100 fine and the costs of the prosecution.”

Miss Anthony—”I have no money to pay with, but am $10,000 in debt.”

Court—”You are not ordered to stand committed till it is paid.”

SOURCE:  Matilda Joslyn Gage to Editor, 20 June 1873, Kansas Leavenworth Times, 3 July 1873, SBA scrapbook 6, Rare Books, Library of Congress

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Timothy Kneeland

Full Professor & Chair Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College. Director of the Center for Public History at Nazareth College. Loves running, wordgames, baseball and adventure

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