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United States v. Anthony

Preparation For Trial

Since women were not allowed to testify in their own defense in the mid-nineteenth century, Anthony tried to present her side of the story to prospective jurors before the trial, scheduled for 13 May, began. She gave the same speech in all 29 postal districts of her county:

"Friends and Fellow-Citizens, I stand before you under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote . . . We no longer petition legislature or Congress to give of the right to vote, but appeal to women everywhere to exercise their too long neglected `citizen's right' . . . we throw to the wind the old dogma that governments can give rights. The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the constitutions of the several states . . . propose to protect the people in the exercise of their God-given rights. Not one of them pretends to bestow rights . . . One half of the people of this Nation to-day are utterly powerless to blot from the statute books an unjust law, or to write a new and just one. The women, dissatisfied as they are with this form of government, that enforces taxation without representation--that compels them to obey laws to which they have never given their consent--that imprisons and hangs them without a trial by a jury of their peers--that robs them, in marriage of the custody of their own persons, wages, and children--are this half of the people left wholly at the mercy of the other half . . . "

Because Anthony had "prejudiced any possible jury," her trial was moved out of her own Monroe County to Canandaigua, a town in Ontario County, New York, and rescheduled for 17 June. By 16 June, Anthony had spoken in every Ontario village.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882United States v. Anthony - Significance, The Almighty Vote, Preparation For Trial, The Trial, The Supreme Court Looks At Women And The Fourteenth Amendment