instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

The Woman Who Dared To Vote: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony

Primarily represented within document collections and broader accounts of the fight for woman suffrage, Anthony’s controversial trial -- as a landmark narrative in the annals of American law -- remains a relatively neglected subject. N. E. H. Hull provides the first book-length engagement with the legal dimensions of that narrative and in the process illuminates the laws, politics, and personalities at the heart of the trial and its outcome. Hull summarizes the woman suffrage movement in the post-Civil War era, reveals its betrayal by former allies in the abolitionist movement, and describes its fall into disarray. She then chronicles Anthony’s vote, arrest, and preliminary hearings, as well as the legal and public relations maneuvering in the run-up to the trial. She captures the drama created by Anthony, her attorneys, the politically ambitious prosecutor, and presiding judge -- and Supreme Court justice -- Ward Hunt, who argued emphatically against Anthony’s interpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments as the source of her voting rights. She then tracks further relevant developments in the trial’s aftermath -- including Minor v. Happersett, another key case for the voting rights of women -- and follows the major players through the eventual passage of the Nineteenth (or "Susan B. Anthony") Amendment.

"A truly refreshing, invigorating, and spirited story! Hull’s close legal study of the charges against Anthony breaks new ground and significantly enlarges our understanding of her trial, its degeneration into a theater of the absurd, and its setback for U.S. women’s rights and recognition as citizens. A must read for students of women’s history and law alike."

--Kathleen BarrySusan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist

"Anthony’s trial comes to life in this readable and absorbing account. Hull provides not just new information, but context and setting as well . . . . A significant contribution."
--Jean H. Baker, author of Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists