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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Susan B. Anthony

PEOPLE IN AMERICA - January 19, 2003: Susan B. Anthony

By Shelley Gollust

VOICE 1:

People in America, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.

(Theme)

In the eighteen-fifties, women in the United States began to try to gain the same rights as men. One woman was a leader in the campaign to gain women the right to vote. I'm Stan Busby.

VOICE 2:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Today we tell about a fighter for rights for women, Susan

B. Anthony.

(Theme)

VOICE 1:

In seventeen-seventy-six, a new nation declared its freedom from Britain. The

Declaration of Independence was the document written to express the reasons for

seeking that freedom. It stated that all men were created equal. It said that all men

had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

VOICE 2:

Not every citizen of the new United States of America had one important right, however. That was the right to vote. At first, the only people permitted to vote in the United States were white men who owned property and could read. By eighteen-sixty, most white male citizens over the age of twenty-one had the right to vote.

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution gave black male citizens the right to vote. These amendments were passed in eighteen-sixty-eight and eighteen-seventy.

VOICE 1:

Women were not really full citizens in America in the eighteen-hundreds. They had no economic independence. For example, everything a woman owned when she got married belonged to her husband. If a married woman worked, the money she made belonged to her husband. In addition, women had no political power. They did not have the right to vote.

In the eighteen-fifties, women organized in an effort to gain voting rights. Their campaign was called the

women's suffrage movement. Suffrage means the right to vote. American women sought to gain that right for more than seventy years.

VOICE 2:

One of the leaders of the movement was Susan B. Anthony of Massachusetts. Miss Anthony was a teacher. She believed that women needed economic and personal independence. She also believed that there was no hope for social improvement in the United States until women were given the same rights as men. The rights included the right to vote in public elections.

VOICE 1: Susan B. Anthony, right, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. (Photo - Library of Congress)

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