US President Donald Trump has announced he will issue a full posthumous pardon for women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony in honor of the hundredth anniversary of women getting the vote. Anthony was convicted of voting in 1873.
The president announced that Anthony, a pivotal figure in the women’s suffrage movement, would receive a “full and complete pardon” on Tuesday in celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
The activist was charged and convicted — by a jury of 12 men — of voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York in the November 1872 federal election “without having a lawful right to vote… being then and there a person of the female sex.”
Admitting he was “surprised it hadn’t been done before,” Trump asked an assembled audience of women, “What took so long?” He hailed the 19th Amendment as a “monumental victory for equality, for justice, and a monumental victory for America” and approvingly noted that in 2020, “women dominate the United States, I think we can say that very strongly.”
Susan B. Anthony was arrested in 1872 for casting a vote in her hometown of Rochester, NY and was later convicted. She refused to pay the fine, but authorities took no further legal action against her. The presidential pardon posthumously clears her record.
The president had been hinting a big pardon was in the works in recent days. However, he poured cold water on some of the speculation on Monday, telling reporters on Air Force One that while he had plans to pardon someone “very, very important” on Tuesday, it wouldn’t be NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.
Trump had broached the idea of a pardon for Snowden over the weekend, however, telling reporters at a press conference that he was “going to start looking at it” because “there are a lot of people who think he is not being treated fairly.”
Last year, the president commemorated the upcoming 19th Amendment centennial with a run of one-dollar silver coins featuring Anthony (who has previously appeared on a dollar coin) as well as other prominent backers of women’s suffrage including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells.
Earlier this week, he urged Congress to approve the construction of a monument honoring the women’s suffrage movement in Washington DC, similar to a statue expected to be unveiled in New York’s Central Park later this month.
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