Susan B. Anthony was born on 15th February 1820 to Lucy Read and Daniel Anthony. She was born in a Quaker family and brought up in West Grove, near Adam, Massachusetts as a second born in a family of seven siblings. Her father, Daniel Anthony, was a stern and open minded cotton manufacturer well known for his abolitionist character. Susan borrowed most of her characters and aspirations from her parents. Her mother, Lucy Read, once attended the Rochester Women’s convention in 1848 and signed the convention’s Declaration of sentiments.
Susann’s parents enforced their children to have self discipline, principled conviction and have a strong sense of self worth. Susan B. Anthony was a very intelligent child, having learned how to read and write at a very young age of three. Her family moved to Battenville, New York when she was six years old. Her teacher refused to teach her long division because she was female. Upon this realization, her father placed Susan in a group home school and became their teacher.
At the age of seventeen, her family moved to Hardscrabble where she took a teaching job to enable her pay off her father’s debts. The panic of 1837 and the economic depression that followed had ruined their family financially forcing his father to lose almost all their possessions. Susan Anthony ended her formal studies during this year because of the resultant financial difficulties in her family. Her first teaching job was at Eunice Kenyon’s Friends’ Seminary and later at Canajoharie Academy where she became the headmistress of the female department.
Her teaching occupation furthered her will to fight for women. As a female teacher, she fought for wages equivalent to those of her male counterparts who were earning four times more than females for the same duties. She quit her teaching job at the age of twenty nine and moved to their family farm in Rochester, New York. It was in Rochester that Susan B. Anthony started to attend conventions and gatherings prepared by the temperance movement. (Mobley 55) She also started to attend the local Unitarian Church and at the same time began to detach herself from her Quakers’ origin.
She would later cite her reason for distancing herself from the Quakers as the hypocritical use of alcohol by some of the Quaker preachers. She would eventually continue to distance herself from organized religion in general. The young Susan B. Anthony was extremely self conscious of how she looked and spoke. Though she would later become an eloquent and influential public speaker, she resisted to speak in public for fear that she would not be eloquent enough. (Patriot 11) Social activism As indicated earlier, Susan B. Anthony borrowed a leaf from her parents but took her activism to an extra level.
At a tender age of sixteen, she took two petition boxes opposing slavery in response to a ‘gag rule’ against such petitions in the House of Representatives. Her activism started ‘officially’ when she became the secretary for the activists’ group Daughters of Temperance. Daughters of Temperance gave Susan Anthony for the first time a forum to speak about the ills of abusing alcohol. Her position as a secretary for the Daughter of Temperance could rightfully be said to be her initiation to the public limelight. (Blackwell 101)