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We appear before you this morning…to ask that you will, at your earliest convenience, report to the House in favor of the submission of a Sixteenth Amendment to the Legislatures of the several States, that shall prohibit the disfranchisement of citizens of the United States on account of sex.
Thus Susan B. Anthony began her address before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives on March 8, 1884. As recorded in the Congressional Report and reprinted in the 1884 document Congressional Action in the First session of the 48th Congress, 1883, 1884, Anthony argued for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony's argument came sixteen years after legislators had first introduced a federal woman's suffrage amendment.
During the four days before Anthony addressed the House Committee, she participated in the National Woman Suffrage Association's sixteenth annual convention in Washington, D.C. On the last day of the convention, Anthony went before the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage and remarked:
This is the sixteenth year that we have come before Congress in person, and the nineteenth by petitions. Ever since the war, from the winter of 1865-'66, we have regularly sent up petitions asking for the national protection of the citizen's right to vote when the citizen happens to be a woman. We are here again for the same purpose.
Susan B. Anthony to the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, March 7, 1884, Congressional Action in the First Session of the 48th Congress, 1883, 1884, page 16.
Votes for Women, 1848-1921
It took many more years of arguing before the suffrage amendment passed. Not until June 4, 1919 did Congress approve what was nicknamed the "Anthony Amendment" in honor of the leader who had died in 1906. On August 26, 1920, the states ratified it as the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
- Search this collection on Susan B. Anthony, selecting to search the FULL TEXT, to find more documents related to Anthony. This search will retrieve items from the Susan B. Anthony Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Additional items from her papers are featured elsewhere on the Library's Web site. The American Memory collection Words and Deeds in American History includes an 1896 letter of Anthony's discussing women ministers. The Library's exhibition American Treasures includes her personal copy of An Account of the Proceedings on the Trial of Susan B. Anthony.
- For an introduction to the Votes for Women, 1848-1921 collection and a list of related collections, see the Collection Connections feature on the Learning Page. Teachers, don't miss the Lesson Plans on suffrage and women's issues: "Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less," and "Using Oral History" (see the section entitled, "Working Women in the 1930s").
- Additional Today in History features on women's suffrage include: