Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
President Trump took the occasion of the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, extending the franchise to American women, to pardon one of the heroes of the long fight for the vote. This is not the first time he used the presidential pardon power to correct a very old wrong. President Trump pardoned Jack Johnson, one of the greatest boxers of all time, and a black man convicted of transporting a white woman (his girlfriend of the moment) across state lines. Now, President Trump pardons Susan B. Anthony, convicted of voting in a federal election when women were ineligible to do so, on the same day he signs a proclamation celebrating women’s participation in American public life.
The women’s suffrage movement took the long hard path of convincing a strong majority of men across the states to support an amendment that would mean men would no longer control our politics exclusively. Ratification of the 19th Amendment was the fruit of women working from 1848 to 1920 to gain the vote in federal elections.
Organized work for women suffrage began in the United States with the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. in 1848, which was called by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, early leaders of Massachusetts and New York, in response to the indignation aroused by the refusal to permit women to take part in the anti-slavery convention of 1840. From the date of that convention the suffrage movement in the United States began the fight that lasted seventy years and ended with victory. Another convention followed in 1852 at Syracuse, N.Y., at which delegates from Canada were present and it was there that Susan B. Anthony assumed leadership of the cause to which she devoted her life.
[. . .]
The nineteenth amendment, which bears her name, was drafted by Miss Anthony in 1875 and first introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator A.A. Sargent of California; and it is in the same language that the new principle of the national law reads:
“Article—, Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
“Section 2. Congress shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to enforce the provisions of this article.”
Proclamation on 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment
LAW & JUSTICE | Issued on: August 18, 2020
On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to our Constitution was ratified, securing the right to vote for women and marking a monumental step toward the “more perfect Union” envisioned by our Founders. This milestone in American history was the product of the tireless efforts of suffragists and other advocates for women’s rights, who steadfastly pursued their vision of a more just and equal society.
In the early days of our Nation’s fight for independence, future First Lady Abigail Adams penned a letter to her husband, John Adams, urging him to “remember the ladies” as he fought to preserve the fledgling United States. She advised him that “if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” In the decades that followed, bold trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Forten Purvis, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper carried forward and fought for the fundamental right of women to vote. The road to suffrage was long and challenging, but the faith, fortitude, and resolute determination of those committed to this noble cause brought about a victory that continues to inspire today.
As with Jack Johnson, many presidents have had the opportunity to symbolically right a wrong, to amend the nation’s record. President Trump has overcome the bureaucratic, institutional resistance, the tyranny of “we’ve never done that,” and “we always have done it that way.”
As America celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment—President @realDonaldTrump will officially pardon its namesake.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 18, 2020
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the Pardon of Susan B. Anthony
LAW & JUSTICE | Issued on: August 18, 2020
Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) posthumously to Susan B. Anthony, a peerless advocate for women’s suffrage, for a wrongful and unjust conviction stemming from the only vote she ever cast in an election. As we commemorate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment—known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment—this grant of full clemency recognizes and pays tribute to the advocacy, perseverance, and leadership of a truly remarkable woman and an American hero.
On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony, after having been permitted to register to vote, entered a polling location in Rochester, New York, and cast a straight ticket Republican ballot. Two months later, a grand jury in Albany, New York, returned an indictment against her for having voted illegally. At the onset of her trial in June 1873, and in clear violation of her rights to trial by jury and due process, she was convicted by way of a directed verdict issued by the presiding judge—Supreme Court Justice Ward Hunt. During the trial, Justice Hunt stated that “the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law.” After not being permitted to testify on her own behalf, she was finally given the opportunity to speak on the last day of trial. In the most famous speech in the women’s suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony aggressively defended a citizen’s right to vote and compared the denial of such a right to the denial of “sacred rights to life, liberty, property.” Justice Hunt then directed the jury to return a guilty verdict and imposed a $100 fine on Susan B. Anthony as her sentence. Although the suffragette steadfastly refused to pay the unjust fine, Justice Hunt did not have her imprisoned, preventing her from appealing her sentence to a higher court.
Susan B. Anthony is an American icon who has inspired millions of women across the Nation through her advocacy and accomplishments, and the generations of Americans who have devoted themselves to the work of perfecting our union are forever indebted to her example and legacy. The decision to posthumously pardon Susan B. Anthony removes a conviction for exercising a fundamental American right and one that we as citizens will lawfully employ this November.
In light of these facts and in recognition of her historic work to improve the justice of our Constitution, the President has concluded that Susan B. Anthony is worthy of this posthumous pardon.
As we commemorate this historic event, we also celebrate the incredible economic, political, and social contributions women have made to our Nation. As President, I am committed to building on these accomplishments and empowering all women and girls to achieve their fullest potential. As part of this effort, in February of last year, my Administration launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, the first whole-of-government effort to advance women’s economic empowerment around the globe. My Administration also released our Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security in June of last year to increase the political participation of women at home and abroad, recognizing that women’s participation in conflict resolution and ending violent extremism can set the course toward a more peaceful world. We are also prioritizing the safety and well-being of women and girls through our commitment to combatting sex trafficking and empowering survivors, who are disproportionately women, and through Operation Lady Justice, the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
My Administration also understands that empowering women means implementing an economic agenda that enhances freedom and creates opportunities for women and working families. As part of this effort, the historic 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the Child Tax Credit, and I signed legislation that provided for the largest ever increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which will help ease the burden of child care borne disproportionately by mothers. Additionally, in December of last year, I signed legislation providing for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for Federal employees. As I have since my first day in office, I continue to call on the Congress to pass a nationwide paid family leave program.
My Administration’s unprecedented investment in working families is already paying dividends. Women’s unemployment in the United States reached the lowest level in 65 years. And in 2019, women filled 71 percent of all new jobs in the United States.
Today, as we celebrate a major step forward for our Nation, we pay tribute to the countless women, known and unknown, throughout our history who struggled for equality. In doing so, we recommit to ensuring our Constitution is faithfully upheld so that all Americans can pursue their dreams and fulfill their God-given potential.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 18, 2020, as a day in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
DONALD J. TRUMP