Courtesy of Buzzfeed

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the expression, “leave well enough alone” is defined as “to allow something to stay because doing more might make things worse.”

On August 18, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, President Donald Trump announced that he would pardon women’s suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony. The 19th Amendment, passed 100 years ago, guarantees all women the right to vote in the United States.  Anthony was arrested in 1872 for illegally voting – about 50 years before women had the right to vote. I believe that Susan B. Anthony’s conviction was a source of pride and empowerment for not only herself, but for all women, because she attempted to vote even before women had the right to vote.

On Election Day in 1872, 148 years ago, Susan B. Anthony casted her ballot at the Rochester, N.Y., polling site. Later that day, she was fined $100 dollars for doing so. Anthony was so proud of her arrest that she never paid her fine. 

Since Anthony’s arrest in 1872, there have been 27 presidents of the United States. The 28th president elected to office since 1872 is Donald Trump. In that 148 year span, he has been the only one to come up with the idea to pardon Anthony. I think it is appropriate to say that Trump should have left well enough alone.

The pardon powers of the President are based on Article Two of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1), which provides: “The President … shall have power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

It is fair to say that she intended to disobey the law; “The only chance women have for justice in this country is to violate the law, as I have done,” said Susan B. Anthony in the Kansas Leavenworth Times in 1873, and as I shall continue to do”,. Anthony voted knowing that she couldn’t. She did it anyway because she was a woman who had to violate the law, with the hope to provide some justice. She was an American citizen and with that, she believed she had the right to vote. 

“She was never pardoned!” Trump exclaimed in a White House ceremony 148 years later. “Did you know that she was never pardoned? What took so long?”, he continued. On the other hand, Donald Trump believes that it is important to pardon her because he believes this move is “fantastic” and will “honor” her legacy. I disagree with this because it is known that Susan B. Anthony would not want her act disregarded.

Susan B. Anthony passed away on March 13, 1906, 14 years before women got the right to vote. “To think I have had more than 60 years of hard struggle for a little liberty, and then to die without it seems so cruel”, she said. With that, I strongly disagree with the pardoning of Susan B. Anthony because her conviction was such an important point in history and it should not be expunged. According to the Pew Research Center, only 63% of eligible female voters say they casted their vote in the 2016 election. In this upcoming 2020 election, I believe that all people who have the right to vote should take advantage of this. Even though not all people believe in the significance of this right, everyone should remember that women had to fight for the right to vote and it did not happen overnight.