Grade Level: 4th/5th
Susan B. Anthony spent nearly sixty years of her life devoted to the cause of social justice and equality for all. Her major contributions were focused on women's rights, particularly the right to vote. She devoted her life to overcoming the United State's resistance to women's suffrage. Her primary achievement lay in her inspiration and influence of thousands of people promoting the right for women to vote, which led to the adoption of the 19th Amendment.
Susan Brownell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was born to a Quaker family that influenced her greatly because of the Quaker beliefs which they embraced. The Quakers preached simple living, brotherly peace and love, encouraged education and hard work for all of its members, whether they were male or female. The Quakers were against slavery and were not allowed to hold slaves. They were great advocates of temperance, which opposed the consumption of alcohol. They also believed that women had the right to be heard in good causes, even in public.
Because Susan's father, Daniel Anthony, believed so strongly in the Quaker ways, Susan was greatly influenced and had many opportunities that many other young women did not have. Her father, following Quaker conventions, chose to treat his children as equals. His daughters attended school and prepared themselves to work and earn a living as teachers, even though they would possibly marry in the future. With this encouragement, Susan began teaching school at the age of 15 and continued until she was 30 years old. Daniel Anthony also encouraged his children to formulate opinions, express these opinions, and to speak out for social causes.
Two such social causes that Susan felt strongly about were the temperance movement and anti-slavery. Susan B. Anthony strongly opposed the use of liquor. From 1848 to 1853 she took part in the temperance movement, joining the Daughters of Temperance. Susan's first public speech was at the age of 29, given at a temperance meeting. It was at one such convention that Susan realized her desire to fight for women's rights. She was told that she could not participate in the convention because she was a woman. This began her dedicated service to the cause of women's suffrage for the rest of her life.
Susan was a radical reformer, and advocated the immediate end of slavery. From 1856 to 1861 she worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society. With this organization, she arranged meetings and gave numerous lectures advocating equal rights of all humans. During the Civil War in 1863, Susan founded the Women's Loyal League in order to formally fight for the emancipation of the slaves.
In 1851, Susan met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together, the two of them were the driving force behind the advancement of women's rights. At that time, women could not vote. They received far fewer wages than men for equal work. For instance, when Susan was teaching school, she earned $2.50 per week, while a male teacher earned $10.00 per week. Women's property became her husband's as soon as they were legally married. There were many other gender-related inequalities, and Susan B. Anthony recognized these injustices and sought to radically change them.
From 1854 to 1860 Susan and Elizabeth Stanton concentrated on reforming laws that discriminated against women in their home state of New York. Susan organized groups of women throughout the state to campaign against such laws and advocated legal reform.
They soon recognized that the only way women would ever be effective in reform or change would be if they had the right to vote. This goal became the center of Susan's work for the remainder of her life.
Their focus was to raise the awareness among citizens of the need for women to vote. After the Civil War, nationwide suffrage became their goal. In 1868, Susan and Elizabeth published a newspaper that focused on the inequality and injustices suffered by women. Susan was the main source of financial support for this newspaper, which was published for three years. In 1869, these two women organized the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). This organization focused on working for a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. Although Susan supported the Fifteenth Amendment passed in 1870, which allowed the newly freed slaves the right to vote, it still did not allow for any women from any race voting privileges.
In 1872, Susan B. Anthony went to the polls and voted. She was arrested and convicted for this action, and was charged with voting illegally. However, she refused to pay the $100 fine. It was in 1888 that Susan helped organize the International Council of Women, a group that represented 48 different countries. She continued to be active in her cause and in her various organizations until her death on March 13, 1906.
The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was adopted in 1920. Although this was fourteen years after the death of Susan, this Amendment was often referred to as the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment." No other individual had more influence on women's suffrage than did Susan B. Anthony.
On July 2, 1979, the U.S.
Mint honored Susan's work by issuing the Susan B. Anthony dollar
1) Levin, Pamela. (1993). Susan B. Anthony, Fighter for Women's Rights. Chelsea House Publishers.
2) Anthony, Susan B. (1993-1995) Microsoft (R) Encarta (R) 96 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation, Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.
3) Hauser, Mary E. and
Hauser, Joy C. (1994). "Women and Empowerment: Part 1, Simulation for
Early Elementary Social Studies." Social Studies and the Young
Learner, Sept/Oct 1994.
4) Stoddard, Hope. (1970).
Famous American Women. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell
5) Monsell, Helen Albee.
(1954). Susan Anthony, Girl Who Dared. Indianapolis: The
Bobbs- Merrill Company, Inc.
1. Students will experience and gain a knowledge of what it was like for women in the United States prior to the time they could vote.
2. Students will name or identify the factors that influenced Susan B. Anthony's life.
3. Given an oral history questionnaire, students will interview a woman about women's rights and report on their findings.
4. Students will increase awareness of equal rights as they campaign for this cause using a medium of their choice.
5. Students will be able to identify personal choices they would make in situations regarding voting rights.
6. Students will identify
important facts and the contributions that Susan B. Anthony made to
Time Allotment: Approximately 8 class periods
Handouts from Appendix
Gender Rights Simulation.
Using the simulation
from Appendix A, introduce the students to the historical
circumstances that necessitated the women's rights movement. Choose
one of the appropriate voting issues for your class, and then do not
allow the girls in your class to participate in the vote. Demonstrate
what it was like for women not to have a say in any decisions.
Discuss as a class their feelings and thoughts about the simulation.
Record feelings and thoughts in writing journals (see number 7
2. Mini-Lecture. Drawing from the experience of the simulation, talk about what it was like for women and others not to have the right to vote. Introduce that a person named Susan B. Anthony worked very hard to make changes to allow equality in voting for all people. Using the background information as stated above, tell the story of Susan B. Anthony and what she did to contribute to this cause.
3. Teacher Read-A-Loud. Throughout the 2 week period that this unit is going on, during the teacher read-a-loud time, read the book Susan Anthony, Girl Who Dared, by Helen Albee Monsell. This book is about the childhood experiences of Susan, and how she was influenced by her family, community, and numerous events in her life. Direct students' attention to the stories and ask questions such as, "How did this experience with her father influence her opinion about temperance?" "How did this story of her schooling experiences form her opinions of anti-slavery? Of women's rights?" Etc. Discuss these answers as a class.
Using the questionnaire (See Appendix B), have students interview a
senior citizen female, whether it be a relative, friend, or neighbor.
Give the students enough time to contact and interview a female of
their choice that might remember what it was like as a young girl and
how they feel women's rights have changed. Upon completion of their
questionnaire, the students will participate in small group
discussions, sharing their findings from the interview. They will
share the different points of view, and the ways their interviewee
felt women's rights have changed.
5. Turn-2-Think. Have the students get into groups of four, whether it be by table or any other way to group students. In each group, have students count off, one to four. Give each group a set of question and answer cards (See Appendix C) about Susan B. Anthony. Starting with student number one (according to the counting), each student will take a question card and read it aloud. All of the students will think of a response. Then that same person will pick an answer card that tells the number of the student who will share the answer with the group. Take turns until all of the question cards have been answered.
6. Commercials/Speeches/Posters. Remind students that one of Susan B. Anthony's biggest tools for spreading the cause of women's rights was by giving speeches, talking to the public, and posters. Have the students decide if they would like to create a commercial, give a speech, or create a poster that they would use to encourage people to allow equal rights, whether it be for women or for anyone that has been denied equal rights. Encourage creativity. Allow them to choose the medium of their choice to promote the cause of equal rights. Give them ample time to prepare and time to present to the class. This activity will take more than one class period to accomplish.
7. Journals. One journal activity will be a simulated journal. Following the gender rights simulation, the students will write in their journals how they felt during the simulation, what they would do if they were deprived of their right to vote, and how they would react in that situation. Ask students what they would do? Would they be involved in organizations such as Susan B. Anthony was? Would they try to vote? What would they do if they were arrested as she was? The second journal activity will take place at the conclusion of the unit. Have each student write in their journal four important facts and two contributions they learned about Susan B. Anthony.
1. Students' understanding of the gender rights simulation will be assessed by observing participation and comments during the discussion following the simulation, and also through the writing journal assignment.
2. Answers to the Oral History Questionnaire will evaluate students' participation and contributions in the small group activity where they report their findings.
3. Contributions and responses of students in the Turn-2-Think activity will be assessed through observations and noted anecdotally.
4. Legitimacy and contribution will be assessed in the content of the commercials, speeches, or posters, checking for students' understanding of equal rights.
5. Journal writing will assess students' understanding of equal rights by evaluating the personal choices they would make in various situations.
6. Journal writing will
indicate students' understanding of Susan B. Anthony's life and
GENDER RIGHTS SIMULATION
Present a situation or choice where the students, as an entire class, are asked to vote on the choice. They could be asked to vote on something like a certain activity or game they will play, who will be the class leaders, the length of recess, etc. etc. The vote should be something that is motivating to the class and something that is important or of value to the students.
Explain that this vote will be taken by casting ballots, just as they do when adults vote in local and national elections. Identify the choices that will be on the ballot. Help the students to feel the excitement of participating in this kind of voting process.
Ask for volunteers to distribute the ballots, and select two boys. Instruct the boys that they can only give ballots to the boys in the classroom. Announce to the class that girls cannot vote in this election, only boys. When the girls complain and ask why, simply explain that it is just the way it is and that boys are the ones to make the decisions. After the ballots have been collected and counted, lead into a discussion about the experience.
Ask the girls such as, "How do you like going along with the boys' choice? How do you feel about not being able to vote? Should girls do what the boys tell them to do? Are the boys smarter than the girls? Is this right to do? Is it fair? Is it discrimination?"
At this point of great
controversy in the discussion, introduce the name of Susan B.
Anthony. Explain that they are not the only ones who felt it was not
fair. Tell them that long ago a woman by the name of Susan B. Anthony
felt that it was not right that men could vote and women could not.
She decided to do something about it. She gave many speeches and led
protests to call attention to the law that was unfair. Although it
took a long time, the law was finally changed, and now both men and
women can vote. This is an appropriate time to present the
mini-lecture on Susan B. Anthony.
*This simulation was adapted from "Women and Empowerment: Part 1, Simulation for Early Elementary Social Studies" by Mary E. Hauser and Joy C. Hauser. September/October 1994 issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner.
ORAL HISTORY QUESTIONNAIRE
Learning about the changes in women's history from a personal acquaintance or family member helps us to learn from a more personal perspective how women's rights have advanced in the past.
Interview a woman that is
important in your life. Ask the following questions and write down
her answers. You may also ask additional questions that you feel will
help us understand her perspective of women's rights.
1. When were you born?
Where did you grow up? What was your family like?
2. Where did you go to school? How long did you go? What did you study? Do you feel you had the same opportunities as boys did when you were in school?
3. Do you feel women were treated differently when you were younger than they are now? If yes, what is different? How have things changed?
4. Have you worked for pay?
What sort of work paid or unpaid have you done? If you were paid, do
you feel you were paid fairly? Were you treated equal to males in
your workplace? If yes, what differences were there?
5. What is your opinion of today's women's movement? Why do you feel this way?
*Adapted from an oral
history questionnaire by Deborah Byrnes.
Place the following
questions on 3x5 index cards, and also write an equal amount of cards
with the numbers 1,2,3, or 4 on them. Make sure that each number
(student) will have an equal chance to answer the questions.
1. How did this person contribute to society?
2. What was this person's greatest accomplishment?
3. What impact has this person had on people today?
4. What might be different today if your person had not existed?
5. How would you describe the personal qualities of this person?
6. What was unique about this person's contributions?
7. Did this person have role models who influenced his or her actions?
8. How would you describe the time period during which this person made their contributions?
9. In what way did technology make an impact on this person's life or contribution?
10. What would the person think of our world if they were alive today?
11. Where did this person work and live? Did place have any influence on the contribution he or she made?
12. What institutions and groups had a major impact on this person's life?
13. What individual had the greatest impact on this person's life?
14. Was this person involved in creating changes in government, attitudes, authority, or social institutions? If so, how?
15. How did this person's upbringing influence his or her contributions?
16. Has this person's reputation evolved or changed over time?
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