Susan B. Anthony

In writing Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World, I was struck by their use of war language, also used by their co-workers and supporters. For example, here is a description of fifty-year-old Susan B. Anthony from The Heart and Home, in “Photographs of Our Agitators”: image20She is the Bismarck; she plans the campaigns, provides the munitions of war, organizes the raw recruits, sets the squadrons in the field. Indeed, in presence of a timid lieutenant, she sometimes heads the charge; but she is most effective as the directing generalissimo. Miss Anthony is a quick, bright, nervous, alert woman of fifty or so—not at all inclined to embonpoint—sharp-eyed, even behind her spectacles. She presides over the treasury, she cuts the Gordian knots, and when the uncontrollables get by the ears at the conventions, she is the one who straightway drags them asunder and turns chaos to order again. In every dilemma, she is unanimously summoned. As a speaker, she is angular and rigid, but trenchant, incisive, cutting through to the heart of whatever topic she touches. The photo is of SBA at the age of fifty.

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