Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October
26, 1902) was a social activist and a leading figure of the early women's
rights movement in the United States. With her husband, Henry Stanton
and cousin, Gerrit Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was also active in
the anti-slavery Abolitionist movement. Stanton had a strong friendship
with abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass.
Elizabeth Cady was born in Johnstown, New York to
Daniel Cady and Margaret Livingston Cady. Daniel Cady was a prominent
attorney who served a term in Congress and later became a judge. Margaret
Livingston was the daughter of Colonel James Livingston, an officer
in the Revolutionary War. Elizabeth Cady Stanton met Henry Brewster
Stanton through her early involvement in the temperance and abolition
movements. Henry Stanton was a journalist, an antislavery orator, and,
after their marriage, became an attorney. The couple were married in
1840 and had seven children. Stanton died in 1902 and was interred
in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.
Women's rights movement
Stanton wrote many of the more important documents and speeches of
the women's rights movement and was, with her friend Lucretia Mott,
the primary organizer of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention in Seneca
Falls, New York. For this convention, Stanton drafted a Declaration
of Sentiments, declaring that men and women are created equal. She
also proposed a resolution, that was voted upon and carried, demanding
voting rights for women.
In 1851, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony. They were introduced, on a
street in Seneca Falls, by mutual acquaintance Amelia Bloomer, also
a feminist. Stanton and Anthony were to remain close friends and colleagues
the rest of her life, though unlike Anthony, Stanton wanted to push
a broader platform of womens rights than suffrage. Together, in 1869,
they founded the National Woman's Suffrage Association, an organization
dedicated to gaining women the right to vote. In 1890, Stanton opposed
a merger with the American Woman Suffrage Association, which created
a National American Woman Suffrage Association. Despite her opposition,
Stanton became its first president (largely due to Susan B. Anthonys
support), however she was never popular among more conservative elements
of the 'National American'. Stanton and Anthony also began the women's
rights newsletter The Revolution, which included frequent contributions
from Stanton. Starting in 1881, Stanton, Anthony and Matilda Joslyn
Gage published the first of three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage,
an anthology of writings about the movement in which they were so prominent.
This anthology reached six volumes by various writers in 1922. Stanton
was also active internationally, spending a great deal of time in Europe
in her later years, and in 1888 she helped prepare for the founding
of the International Council of Women.
However, after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution (which proposed black suffrage but had neglected
female suffrage), and it's support by the Equal Rights Association
and prominent suffragists such as Lucy Stone, a gulf appeared between
the women's rights movement and the move for racial equality. Cady
Stanton declared, "I will cut off this right arm of mine before
I will ever work for or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the
"The prejudice against color, of which we hear so much, is no
stronger than that against sex. It is produced by the same cause, and
manifested very much in the same way."
-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
In a view different from many modern activists, Stanton expressed a
negative opinion on abortion. She addressed the issue in an 1873 letter
to Julia Ward Howe, recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University
Library, and in editions of the newsletter The Revolution. Stanton
suggested that solutions to abortion would be found, at least in part,
in the elevation and enfranchisement of women. Stanton was an outspoken
supporter of the 19th century temperance movement, however her views
on religion distanced her from the Womens Christian Temperance Union.
She also addressed other issues including the guardianship of children,
reformation of divorce laws, and the economic health of the family.
She was a strong critic of religion in general and Christianity in
USS Elizabeth C. Stanton (AP-69), a World War II troop transport,
was named for her.
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