President Donald Trump made a declaration during the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification and that is to pardon Susan B. Anthony.
However, this act of clemency was received with criticism instead. This is because by pardoning Susan B. Anthony, Trump has, reportedly, overridden her wishes and invalidate what she fought for in the first place.
Who is Susan B. Anthony?
Susan Brownell Anthony was one of the well-known leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. She was an abolition activist that gave “passionate speeches against slavery,” at a time when women were looked down on for giving public speeches.
In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting during the presidential election in Rochester, New York. She was tried by an all-male jury, per ABC, and was found guilty. As punishment, she was ordered to pay the penalty of US$100 to which refused to pay.
Her refusal to succumb to the law that deprived her of voting was one of the many things she was historically known for.
Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, she led the women’s suffrage movement until 1900. The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, 14 years after she died.
Trump’s pardon rejected and criticized
Donald Trump spoke at a White House event, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification. He signed the presidential proclamation commemorating the centennial event and announced that he would be granting a posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony.
The New York Times quotes Trump on Tuesday’s speech, saying:
“She was guilty for voting and we’re going to be signing a full and complete pardon.”
However, what he might think was a noble gesture, was instead received with many criticisms. For one, lieutenant governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, took it to Twitter to demand Trump to rescind his clemency on Anthony.
As highest ranking woman elected official in New York and on behalf of Susan B. Anthony’s legacy we demand Trump rescind his pardon.
She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine. Let her Rest In Peace, @realDonaldTrump.
— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) August 18, 2020
In addition, U.S. Representative Jackie Speier also expressed her two-cents on the president’s act. ABC further points out that the president and CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, Deborah Hughes, has expressed that Anthony “absolutely would not have wanted it for herself.”
Pathetic. Trump pardons a woman who has been dead for over 100 years to show his commitment to women.
Suburban women aren’t dumb. We are all insulted. https://t.co/8NtWxYOy3p
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) August 18, 2020
Which led Hughes to give out a statement, which Deadline quotes:
“Anthony wrote in her diary in 1873 that her trial for voting was ‘The greatest outrage History ever witnessed.’ She was not allowed to speak as a witness in her own defense, because she was a woman. At the conclusion of arguments, Judge Hunt dismissed the jury and pronounced her guilty. She was outraged to be denied a trial by jury. She proclaimed, ‘I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.’ To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same.”
And recently, the official Twitter account of the Susan B. Anthony Museum tweeted, objecting, and declining Trump’s pardon.
On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020: Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon today!
— S. B. Anthony Museum (@SusanBHouse) August 18, 2020
Accordingly, Trump has been under fire lately with his strong stance against the mail-in voting. Per USA Today, democrats have suspected Trump and his administration for “kneecapping” the Postal Services, amid election season.
Featured image courtesy of Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock