Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, suffragist and co-founder of the womens rights movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton (credit: blackpast.org, public domain)

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Synopsis

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a famous suffragist and women's rights activist, renowned for her numerous speeches and written works promoting gender equality. Whilst she did campaign for women's suffrage, she also focussed on reform for divorce, child custody and was the co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Family

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in 1815 to Margaret Livingston and Judge Daniel Cady; few of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's siblings survived to adulthood and it was of great distress to her father that the family name would not continue down the male line. Acutely aware that her father longed for another boy on the death of her older brother, Eleazar, Elizabeth Cady Stanton focused on her studies in order to prove that she was just as competent in her endeavours. Sadly, however, she was simply told wistfully that she should have been a boy.  The wealthy abolitionist Gerrit Smith was Elizabeth Cady Stanton's cousin, linked by their mothers; Elizabeth and Margaret Livingston.

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Education

Elizabeth Cady Stanton had an interest in the way that property law affected women; her father took the time to explain that until new laws were passed, women were expected to rely on their husbands and children for support. Educated at Johnstown Academy alongside both boys and girls, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was bitterly disappointed when male classmates no more intelligent than herself furthered their education at a union college, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton was sent to a boarding school for girls.

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Marriage and Abolition

As a young adult, Elizabeth Cady Stanton had met Henry Brewer Stanton at the house of her cousin, Gerrit Smith; it was here that Henry proposed in October 1839. Through Henry's lectures at anti-slavery conventions and informal debates held at her cousin's house that Elizabeth Cady Stanton became affiliated with the plight of slaves.

The match was not well received by her father given Henry's abolitionist beliefs, but despite an initial break in the engagement, the marriage took place in 1840. True to herself, Elizabeth Cady Stanton requested the removal of the promise to obey from the wedding vows. Their honeymoon was spent in England and France, incorporating a trip to London to speak as delegates at the world Anti-Slavery Convention; where fellow abolitionists and future suffrage supporters such as William Lloyd Garrison and Lucretia Mott also arrived. However, the women were only permitted entry to the spectator's gallery after much debate and they were not permitted to speak. Garrison, amongst other male abolitionists, refused to be seated and instead remained with the female delegates.


QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE SUFFRAGIST ELIZABETH CADY STANTON

Name: Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Born: 11/12/1815, New York
Died: 10/11/1902, New York City
Cause: Heart Failure
Famed for: Being one of the primary figures campaigning for gender equality
Spouse: Henry Brewster Stanton M1840
Children: Daniel B1842, Henry B1844, Gerrit B1845, Theodore B1851, Margaret B1852, Harriot B1856, Robert B1859
Parents: Daniel Cady and Margaret Livingston Cady
Siblings: Margaret, Harriot, Eleazar, Tryphena, Daniel, James, Catherine

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Children

Elizabeth Cady Stanton dismissed advice given by doctors and baby books and used her own reasoning when raising her first born; in her recollections 'Eighty Years and More', she described the length at which she would even disagree with her nurse. It is perhaps credit to Elizabeth Cady Stanton that all of her children survived to adulthood; in no small part due to her confidence to trust herself as a woman and mother over men who considered themselves educated.

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Seneca Falls Convention and Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

In 1847, the family moved to Seneca Falls from Boston. The following year, with the assistance of Quaker abolitionist and suffragist Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton arranged the Seneca Falls convention; the first convention promoting women's rights in America. Though only five days notice had been given when advertised, the convention was initially a success but quickly attracted much negative press. A further convention in Rochester was held the same year.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions in 1848, which was signed by many of the women's rights activists present at the Seneca Falls Convention.

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Susan B Anthony

She also gave numerous speeches locally and wrote articles about suffrage and the women's rights movement, only to be further bolstered by the friendship and skills of Susan B Anthony; who was introduced to Elizabeth Cady Stanton by mutual friend Amelia Bloomer. Whilst Elizabeth Cady Stanton was anxious to give an impromptu speech, Susan B Anthony rose to the occasion.

Together Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan  B Anthony petitioned The Fifteenth Amendment to include the right for women suffrage, not just African American men.
Suffragist and womans rights activist Susan B Anthony
Susan B Anthony (credit:Wikipedia, public domain)

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Movement Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Gender Equality

Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for more than just women's suffrage, but also other issues relative to the women's rights movement such as interracial marriage, reviews of grounds for divorce and birth control. Her speech in 1854 resulted in the right for joint custody of children and the right for married women to their wages

The Suffragist and Women's Rights Activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Revolution and Later Works

In 1868 Elizabeth Cady Stanton co-edited Revolution, Susan B Anthony's paper promoting various topics relating to the women's rights movement. Also the president and co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 until it merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890, Elizabeth Cady Stanton remained president of the newly named National American Woman Suffrage Association until 1892 for a full 23 years. 'The History of Woman Suffrage' was published with Susan B Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage; Elizabeth Cady Stanton also wrote 'The Woman's Bible' with her daughter, Harriot.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's house in New Jersey and Seneca Falls are now National Historic Landmarks.

Sources:

  1. Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences 1815-1897

  2. Lori D. Ginzberg - Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life

  3. Digital Library Project

  4. Iowa State University

  5. Rutgers University

The Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • The Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton for Education and Learning
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and The Seneca Falls Convention
  • The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

 

  • Quick Facts About the Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Women's Rights Movement

 
 
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