The Power of Nope

On , Susan B. Anthony, convicted of voting-while-female, was sentenced by Justice Ward Hunt of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York to “pay a fine of one hundred dollars and the costs of the prosecution.”

This is Anthony’s response to the sentence:

May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in trade I possess is a $10,000 debt, incurred by publishing my paper — The Revolution — four years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison, and hang women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt, but not a penny shall go to this unjust claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

She never did pay the fine or costs of prosecution. And despite some efforts to find assets to seize, the courts were never able to squeeze anything out of her.

And the following tale comes from Leo Schiff’s Toward a Nonviolence of Daily Living: The Life and Times of Juanita and Wally Nelson (1996):

The Nelsons continued to encounter the Internal Revenue Service in New Mexico. The IRS tracked them down in Ojo Caliente and tried to collect back taxes on Wally’s income from the Antioch Bookplate Company. Juanita recalls:

They came to Ojo Caliente, sixty miles north of Santa Fe, and tried to take our vehicles. One had completely gone kerplunk and was ready to be hauled off to the junkyard, but they didn’t know that, and the other one wasn’t much better. They came and placed stickers on them saying, “Property of the United States Government,” and then they got a tow truck to try and haul them away. I sat in front of one and Wally sat in front of the other, and finally the guy went away.