A Rhetorical Analysis Of Susan B. Anthony's Speech

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Susan B. Anthony has been an equal rights activist (specifically women’s rights) for most of her life. She began fighting for women’s rights when she became a teacher, and during this time she realized that male teachers earned four times the amount women did. During the election of 1872, she was arrested for illegally voting. Anthony was not allowed to testify and was charged with a one hundred dollar fine, and to that, she famously denied, “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” Instead of paying, she delivered a speech about women’s suffrage all over the country. In addition to using examples of the Constitution, she used quotes from political figures and the Declaration of Independence, which discuss human rights, but then questions why women would not be included. Her intention behind this speech was to prove that there is an injustice in not allowing women to vote and arresting them for voting. Susan B. Anthony executes this speech using logical, emotional, and ethical appeals towards the audience. Not only was this speech’s purpose to inspire women to make a difference, but also to encourage men to do so as well, since they legally could. Within the first paragraph of her speech, she states “I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen's…show more content…
Anthony appeals to the ethics of her audience by stating that since the Constitution only uses male pronouns, women should be exempted from taxes and the penalties for the violation of laws. She is basically questioning that since women can’t vote, despite the Constitution’s preamble, then why should women regard to anything else it says. Susan B. Anthony takes advantage of these male pronouns, because the law she has violated states that, “If any person shall knowingly vote without his having a lawful right.” This shows that technically, since she is a woman who uses female pronouns, she does not have to comply to this law, or any law of the Constitution for that
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