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I tend to notice people who were ahead of their time, and who had the guts to advocate controversial positions that made their lives more difficult, especially where social justice is concerned.
Stanton's delivery of The Declaration of Sentiments in the late 1840s represented such a stand, in that it pulled no punches, and clearly identified the disparity between what the Constitution and the Revolution had promised, but failed to deliver to women in the republic.
While very few were listeningm her and others persistence over time would slowly bring about a change in society's views.
The Declaration of Sentiments was the 1848 speech delievered by Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the very first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. She modeled her speech after Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, which was intended to justify her argument that declared all men and women are created equal. The speech included a list of sentiments (grievences) upon which a list of twelve resolutions to address the sentiments were declared and voted upon.
For me, Stanton's most memorable statement is: 'I shall not grow conservative with age' a few words that give totality to her passion and belief in the quest for women's rights in America.
I assume that you are asking what the example of Elizabeth Cady Stanton tells us about the movement--what we can learn about it from looking at her. I would say that we can learn the following things:
- The women's rights movement came out of and was involved with other reform movements of the time. This is particularly true of the abolitionist movement. Stanton is an example of this since she was involved in the abolitionist movement before the Seneca Falls Convention and she was involved in the temperance movement afterwards.
- The women's movement was supported by a number of men. Stanton's husband (with whom she had 7 children) was broadly supportive of her efforts. He accepted her use of her name (Cady) along with his and he accepted it when she deleted the promise to "obey" from their wedding vows. He did not support the idea of women's suffrage, but he did generally support her.
In these ways, Stanton's own experiences can tell us something about the women's rights movement.
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