We Don't Need Susan B. Anthony To Be Pardoned

On Monday, President Trump announced that he would pardon a "very, very important person" the next day, and like every time Trump makes an announcement, everyone got very nervous. It honestly could have been anyone. Adnan Syed? The Golden State Killer? Some random guy in Oklahoma who urinated in too many public places? But we're all idiots because we didn't think to look at the calendar. Tuesday was, of course, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, so the person Trump pardoned was Susan B. Anthony, who was convicted in 1873 of voting while lady.

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It was no doubt part of his campaign to appeal to "housewives" and others who are technically also women, but it only illustrates how little he understands them. Ask any women how high the pardon of Susan B. Anthony is on her list of political priorities. She'll probably say, "Wait, she went to jail?"

In fact, she didn't. She was fined a whopping $100. Sure, that was over $2,000 back then, but she told the judge right to his face that she'd never pay it, and they both knew that he couldn't make her. He tried once, sending a deputy marshal to Anthony's home about a month after the trial to seize $100 worth of her stuff, but he found an empty house that had been cleaned out of all valuables. Either someone tipped her off, or Anthony just lived like that for a whole month in preparation because suffragettes were not known to be creatures of comfort. (You seen those bikes?) Whatever the case, they never tried to collect her fine again, and the judge declined to jail her for nonpayment because he knew that would let her take her case to the Supreme Court. If anything, Anthony was positively itching for further legal repercussions.

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It's especially strange because Anthony's crime was illegal voting, an issue that Trump sure seems to feel pretty negative about. He's so passionate about it, in fact, that he's withholding funding to the United States Postal Service months before a federal election at a time when showing up to your local polling location is potentially lethal, all because of (completely baseless) concerns about mail-in voting fraud. It seems that if he genuinely cared about the right to vote, women's or otherwise, it would be maybe more effective to focus on people who are alive (for now).

Top image: Internet Archive Book Images/Wikimedia Commons

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