A wise revolutionary once said, “Failure is impossible.” This activist was none other than Susan B. Anthony. Born February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts, Susan Brownell Anthony was an advocate of women’s rights in particular; she came from a family of politically active Quakers, as well, yet none was as important in the history of our nation as Susan herself. In her lifetime, she founded multiple organizations for women’s rights, traveled the globe giving hundreds of speeches annually about gender equality, wrote books about her cause, and more. Although Anthony did not live to see the day her dream would become a reality, fourteen years after her death, the Nineteenth Amendment granted women suffrage. For her work in achieving this milestone, Susan B. Anthony is one of the most influential people in history.
Whereas celebrities are often overrated, heroes are people who overcome adversity, risk their lives to do what is right, and inspire others in the process. By such designation, Susan B. Anthony was an exceptional hero. Perhaps the greatest aspect of heroes is their proactive response to crises; hers was portrayed in such a way: “She was forced to end her formal studies because her family was financially ruined during the Panic of 1837…In 1839, Anthony left home to teach and pay off her father’s debts.” At the time, Anthony was only seventeen years old, so for her to already get a job, let alone one to pay off someone else’s debts, shows just how early her desire to help others blossomed. Rather than working to support her education, Susan’s selflessness persuaded her to work to aid her father financially. Furthermore, many women Susan’s age in her day were still living at home, working perhaps in the domestic sphere, not the public sphere. This goes to show just how industrious Susan B. Anthony really was. She was a hero.
Being a courageous woman, she had no fear of physical harm or censure from society regarding her ideals. “She encountered hostile mobs, armed threats, and things thrown at her. She was hung in effigy and in Syracuse her image was dragged through the streets. However, Anthony went on to campaign for full citizenship and equal rights for women and people of any race.” In other words, Anthony was firm in her stance and refused to give up because other people’s views did not align with her own. Most people would avoid the spotlight if doing so would reduce their number of enemies, even if such action meant keeping as revolutionary idea as Susan’s a secret and thus dismissing a chance to positively influence society. However, Susan was unafraid to speak her mind. She never gave her opponents the satisfaction of winning; not once did she let their threats hinder her work, and continued to progress in her career as if she was completely indifferent to the hostility. Conclusively, Susan B. Anthony was so courageous that she was not shaken by physical threats to her society, or by social disapproval of her morals.
Furthermore, Anthony worked extraordinarily hard to accomplish her goals. Contrary to popular belief, public speaking did not come naturally to Susan. “In her youth, Anthony was very self-conscious of her appearance and speaking abilities…However, Susan kept pursuing her goal to eliminate her fear of public speaking, and despite her former insecurities, she became a renowned public presence, eventually helping to lead the women’s movement.” It seems unfathomable that someone as bold as Susan was once timid. This just goes to show how hard Susan must have worked to make such a transition from a shy, insecure young girl to a powerful, world-renowned speaker. Anthony did not let her fears hold her back from her aspirations. Instead, she continually practiced her public speaking to build her confidence to a point where she could speak in front of a sea of people. In fact, she often did just this, traveling the world to inform people about the revolution she had underway. Ultimately, Susan worked hard to achieve her goals and refused to let petty issues get in her way.
Diligent, driven, outstanding, and fearless. Susan B. Anthony had every mark of a true hero. Because she possessed such traits, she was able to do so much good in her life, including start several non-profit humane societies, tour the world speaking about equality, and finally help women gain suffrage. Although Anthony never saw the day her dreams came true, she worked up until her death and considered her life meaningful since, as she herself once said, “Failure is impossible.”
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