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And vice versa

The Events

In November of 1872, Susan B. Anthony, along with sixteen other women went to the polling booth in Rochester N.Y. to cast their votes in the general election. She had written a letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton describing her actions. She was subsequently arrested for violating election laws and found guilty.

The Players

Judge - Ward Hunt
U.S District Attorney -Richard Crowley
Defense for Susan B. Anthony - Henry R. Seldon and John Van Voorhis

After the court denied a motion for a new trial, according to court records, the following exchange took place.

The Court: The prisoner will stand up. Has the prisoner anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?

Miss Anthony: Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled underfoot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor's verdict, doomed to political subjection under this so-called Republican government.

Judge Hunt: The Court cannot listen to a rehearsal of arguments the prisoner's council has already consumed three hours in presenting.

Miss Anthony: May it please you honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence can not, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen's right to vote is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty, property, and -

Judge Hunt: The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.

Miss Anthony: But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen's rights. May it please the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disenfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury -

Judge Hunt: The prisoner must sit down, the Court cannot allow it.

Miss Anthony:All my prosecutors, from the 8th Ward corner grocery politician, who entered the complaint, to the United States Marshall, Commissioner, District Attorney, District Judge, your honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each are my political sovereigns; and had your honor submitted my case to the jury, as was clearly your duty, even then I have had just cause for protest, for not one of those men were my peer, but, native or foreign, white or black, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk, each and every man of them was my political superior; hence, in no sense, my peer. Even, under such circumstances, a commoner of England, tried before a jury of lords, would have far less to complain than should I, a woman, tried before a jury of men. Even my counsel, the Hon. Henry R. Selden, who has argued my cause so ably, so earnestly, so unanswerably before your honor, is my political sovereign. Precisely as no disenfranchised person is entitled to sit upon a jury, and no woman is entitled to the franchise, so, none but a regularly admitted lawyer is allowed to practice in the courts, and no woman can gain admission to the bar- hence, jury, judge, counsel, must all be of superior class.

Judge Hunt: The Court must insist -the prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

Miss Anthony: Yes, your honor, but by forms of law all made by men, interperted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women; and hence, your honor's ordered verdict of guilty, against a United States citizen for the exercise of "that citizen's right to vote, " simply because the citizen was a woman and not a man. But, yesterday, the same man-made forms of law declared it a crime punishable with $1,000.00 fine and six month's imprisonment, for you, or me, or any of us, to give a cup of cold water, a crust of bread, or a night's shelter to a panting fugitive as he was tracking his way to Canada. And every man or woman in whose veins coursed a drop of sympathy violated that wicked law, reckless of consequences, and was justified in so doing. As the the slaves who just got their freedom must take it over, or under, or through the unjust forms of law, precisely now so must women, to get their right to a voice in this Government, take it; and I have taken mine, and mean to take it at every possible opportunity.

Judge Hunt: The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.

Miss Anthony: When I was brought here before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpertation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under it protecting aegis - that should declare equality of rights the national guarantee to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice -failing, even, to get a trial by a jury not of my peers - I ask not leniency, at your hands -but rather the full rigors of the law.

Judge Hunt: The Court must insist - (Here the prisoner sat down.)

Judge Hunt: The prisoner will stand up. (Here Miss Anthony arose again.) The sentence of the Court is that you pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the cost of the prosecution.

Miss Anthony: May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10, 000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper -The Revolution -four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison, and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the Government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that "Resistance to tyranny is obediance to God."

Judge Hunt: Madam, the Court will not order you committed until the fine is paid.

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