Susan B. Anthony | Teen Ink

Susan B. Anthony

March 8, 2021
By serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
24 articles 5 photos 0 comments

The fundamental rights that women in our country enjoy today are the result of centuries and centuries of struggle by dauntless women who took initiative to overcome oppression by the corrupt societal ideas that stripped women of their rights as citizens. One such activist known as Susan B. Anthony dedicated her life to securing women’s rights and specifically women’s suffrage. In 1872, after she led a group of women to vote illegally in the federal election in New York, she was was put into trial before Judge Ward Hunt. During the trial, Susan B. Anthony appeals to Judge Ward Hunt the justification of her actions by using repetition, juxtaposition, and parallelism to convey a respectful yet urgent tone.

Anthony uses repetition to maintain a respectful tone toward Judge Hunt because she realizes that advocating for women’s rights in court as a women was thought as disrespectful due to the women’s inferior place in society. Although Anthony chooses to speak while Judge Hunt insists her guilt, she never stops referring to the judge as “Your Honor.” Throughout their dialogue, Anthony makes claims to refute the guilty verdict from the Court while remaining respectful to Judge Hunt. This is important because women were looked down upon during the 1800s and were typically not allowed to speak out in court at all. Anthony acknowledges that her actions disobeyed the established traditions of the time, so she addresses Judge Hunt with a polite attitude to balance her speech with the underlying defiant message to advocate for women’s suffrage. Her tone of respect increases her chances of successfully arguing against the Court since she, a woman, did not have the right to speak directly to Judge Hunt, a man.

Susan B. Anthony also builds her argument regarding the unfairness of the verdict from Court with juxtaposition. She asserts that all of her prosecutors, whether “educated or ignorant, awake or asleep, sober or drunk,” all are her political superiors. By juxtaposing significantly contrasting terms, she highlights the magnitude of absurdity behind the hierarchy of all men over women no matter what condition they are in. The powerful juxtaposition emphasizes the unjustness of the widely accepted superiority of all men over women with no exceptions. Anthony’s hint at absurdity in traditional values allows her to take a multifaceted approach, not only strengthening her case against the Court’s guilty verdict but also forcing Judge Hunt to reconsider the fundamental societal definitions of women during the time.

Anthony strengthens her argument against the Court’s guilty verdict against her illegal voting as a woman with parallelism to create an urgent tone. She states that the law, or Constitution, was “made,” “interpreted,” and “administered” by men in a parallel sentence structure. She then abruptly transitions to the relationship of the law with women, finishing the phrase by asserting that the law is against women. The flow of the parallel structure in the beginning of the sentence followed by a sudden shift toward women draws out the real contrast and problems with the formation of their society with a sense of urgency. Anthony urges Judge Hunt to recognize the unjustness of the very law that he was trying to use against her, building her case that the Court’s decision was not morally correct since they were using a morally wrong document to decide her verdict. With an intelligent use of repetition, juxtaposition, and parallelism, Susan B. Anthony argues against Judge Hunt’s guilty verdict while pointing out the fundamental flaws of the roots of society. And a few decades later, in 1920, Anthony’s dreams finally came true with the 19th amendment granting women’s suffrage. Today, Anthony’s bravery to speak out against what she found were moral wrongs in society should be something we implement into our daily lives as we continue to fight for gender equality as citizens of the United States.

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