Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Table of Contents
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in 1815, before women in the United States had the right to vote in governmental elections. She had a brother who died when she was a young girl. After her brother’s death, her father lamented to her, “Oh my daughter, I wish you were a boy!”.Retrieved from Women of the Hall website, on 15 September 2010: http://www.greatwomen.org/women.php?action=viewone&id=149 This statement of her youth, left a stamp on many of the events she would participate in later in life. She was educated at the Troy Female Seminary, in Troy, New York, excelling in Greek, Latin and Mathematics.
Elizabeth married Henry Stanton in 1840. In the couples’ wedding vows, the word “obey” was left out at the requent of Stanton herself. After, the couple took their honeymoon to London at the World’s Anti-Slave Convention where her husband was a delegate. Noticing that the women delegates were not given seats at the convention, she collaberated with some of these women to brainstorm the idea of a women’s convention.
Women’s Rights ActivityRetrieved from the U.S. National Park Service website, on 165 September 2010: http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/elizabeth-cady-stanton.htm
From nearly the beginnnig of the women’s rights movement’s inception, Stanton found herself in a leadership role. The Seneca Falls Convention took place in 1848 in Seneca Falls, along with the help of Lucretia Mott, whom Stanton met in London, Martha Coffin Wright, Jane Hunt and Mary Ann M'Clintock. Her famous draft, the Seneca Falls Convention Declarion of Sentiments, lobbied for the right of women to vote in elections. She would go on to write many documents on the topic of women’s rights. Her ideas were considered radical during this time in history.
A few years after the convention, in 1851, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony , who would prove to be a lifelong friend and fellow advocate. Together they attempted to tackle discrimination afforded to married women. At that time when a woman obtained a husband she relinquished her rights to property, wages and guardianship of her children. The women’s rights movement needed mobility; the ideas of the movement had to be taken outside of Seneca Falls. Stanton was a dedicated mother, although always an activist at heart. She found compromise by writing speeches and documents at her home, which were then given to Anthony to be produced.
During this time in history, emancipation was another major issue in the realm of rights. There was a faction that favored the precedence of emancipation before women’s rights, which included abolitionist Frederick Douglas as well as the American Woman Women's Suffrage Association. Stanton did not hold this view, believing that one group shouldn’t have to wait in line behind another in order to gain rights. Stanton joined up with Matilda Joslyn Gage to head the National Woman Women's Suffrage Association which supported their more radical viewpoints.
The three women: Stanton, Gage and Anthony, would next form a partnership with the publication of the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the Gender Equality in the United States of America of America. Gage and Stanton would be co-writers, while Anthony made the presentation of the document at the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. at the 1876 Centennial.
Many of Stanton’s views placed her at the radical end of the spectrum. Her ideas, which don’t appear radical today, not only included women’s right to vote, but also a relaxation on divorce law and the growth of co-ed schools. She began traveling on behalf of her causes after her children had grown-up a little, taking on the role that had previously been given primarly to Anthony on Staton’s behalf
Stanton began to separate from the mainstream movement in her later years, but passionately continued her work in the field.
Death and Legacy
Stanton died in 1902, never seeing the day women gained the right to vote in the United States. American women today can trace their right to vote and other cherished rights directly from the efforts of Stanton and her colleagues. She is considered the pioneer, the architect and the premier leader of the movement. Today Stanton and her friends Anthony and Mott are immortalized as statues in the U.S. Capitol building.
Stanton produced many works for the rights movement. Several of her documents were helped along by her friends Anthony and Gage.
- Seneca Falls Convention Declarion of Sentiments
- Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States
- Woman’s Bible
- A History of Woman’s Suffrage
- Solitude of Self – 1892
- Address to the Legislature of New York – 1854
- National Woman Suffrage Association – Leader
- Combined National Woman Suffrage Association and American Woman Suffrage Association – President