Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S.
Elizabeth began her long, illustrious life as a women’s college educated abolitionist in pre-Civil War America. Through her work she met her husband, Henry Brewster Stanton. Together, they raised seven children.
For most women during this time, marriage and motherhood meant saying goodbye to any dreams of working outside of the home, but this was not the case for Elizabeth. Shortly after moving her family to Seneca Falls, NY, she spearheaded the Seneca Falls Convention.
During the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, Elizabeth read aloud the first of her many amazing works, The Declaration of Sentiments. She modeled the declaration after the Declaration of Independence. In her speech, Elizabeth highlighted the many ways women were discriminated against.
Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. -Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Fellow suffragists and abolitionists, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass, signed her declaration. After the convention, Elizabeth met Susan B. Anthony, and the two forged a lifelong friendship and working relationship.
As Susan never married nor had children, she was able to act as Elizabeth’s ground warrior. While Elizabeth wrote literature and speeches, and raised her children at home, Susan traveled to spread their message.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton refused to support the 14th and 15th Amendments as neither granted black and white women the right to vote – only black males. Angered by this omission, Elizabeth broke ties with many of her abolitionist friends. She and Susan then formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, which would eventually help women gain the right to vote in 1920.
Women did not get the vote until 18 years after Elizabeth’s death.
Although she is most famous for her work with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth also supported many other women’s rights issues, many of which her contemporaries ignored.
As the daughter and wife of lawyers, Elizabeth was intimately acquainted with the law and the laws that restricted women. She fought against laws that denied women any rights in the case of a divorce, and maintained that a women should reserve the right to deny her husband sex. She also encouraged voluntary motherhood, and spoke out about the need for women to be equally educated.
I have always admired and loved Elizabeth Cady Stanton for her strong beliefs and the life she led. I love that she married and was in a true partnership, and that she was a champion for women to live the lives they truly wanted. Her written works, The Woman’s Bible, The Solitude of Self and collections of her speeches are amazingly eloquent and moving. I can’t recommend them enough.
I also adore her friendship and working relationship with Susan B. Anthony. Together, in my mind, these two were virtually unstoppable. Elizabeth fought for a woman’s right to education, employment and sexual freedom. Unlike many other abolitionists, temperance supporters and suffragists, Elizabeth was not a fan of organized religion.
What. A. Woman.
If you have not already, I encourage reading up on this spectacular woman. To help get you started, I’ve curated some links, several of which I referenced for this post. I contemplated digging out some papers I wrote on Elizabeth during college, but decided against that because…work.
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony Papers Project
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust
Reposted with permission from The Tipsy Verse