Elizabeth Cady Stanton Additional Biography

Susan B. Anthony

Biography

ph_0111206100-Stanton.jpg Elizabeth Cady Stanton Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is considered the mother of woman suffrage in the United States. Her father, Daniel Cady, was a federal judge, and Elizabeth spent many childhood hours listening to him interpret the law. Angered by the injustice of the law toward women, she vowed to work for changes. Having attended secondary school with her brothers to learn Latin, Greek, and algebra, she was astounded when refused admission to Union College on the basis of her sex. She attended Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, where she unhappily studied French, music, and dancing.

She spent the next seven years reading and studying law, painting, riding horses, and generally developing her mind and body. Disturbed by her own lack of purpose, she was heartened to meet Henry Brewster Stanton, the famous antislavery orator, journalist, and author. The injustice against which he fought for African American slaves she found similar to the inequality women faced under the law. Against family objections, she married Stanton and left immediately with him for England to attend the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention as delegates. There she met Lucretia Mott, the great Quaker women’s rights activist, and took up the banner officially for the cause of women’s equality.

The Stantons went home to Seneca Falls, New York. A year later, Stanton met with Mott and some of her Quaker friends to propose a convention for women at which the proper steps could be drawn up to improve their status. They called for women to attend a Women’s Rights Convention in the United States. It was in 1848 at the first convention in Seneca Falls Wesleyan Chapel that Stanton read her document called the “Declaration of Sentiments.” Based on the Declaration of Independence, it called for equality in all areas—education, economic issues, marriage property laws, and, for the first time in the history of the nation, the right to vote. The subject of suffrage drew fire from many protesters; however, after much debate, the declaration was signed by more than one hundred men and women, and the first official stance on suffrage for women was recorded. Two weeks later at a meeting in Rochester, New York, the document was again endorsed.

Stanton continued, along with Mott and others, to work toward women’s equality. Delivering speeches and writing articles were as much a part of her life as her family. In 1851, fortuitous circumstances brought Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony together, and...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature, Critical Edition)

Author Profile

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, like most abolitionist and women’s rights activists of the nineteenth century, spent her adult life juggling family demands and activism. She wrote close friend Susan B. Anthony that “my whole soul is in the work, but my hands belong to my family.” She lectured audiences that “radical reform must start in our homes, in our nurseries, in ourselves.”

Stanton helped organized the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in New York in 1848, the first of its kind. In the convention’s Declaration of Sentiments, Stanton wrote, “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct...

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Bibliography

Banner, Lois. Elizabeth Cady Stanton: A Radical for Women’s Rights. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1980. The best single volume on Cady Stanton’s life and thought. It presents her as the philosopher of the feminist movement and is especially helpful on her theories.

Cott, Nancy. The Grounding of Modern Feminism. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987. Discusses Stanton’s work in context of the women’s movement as a whole.

DuBois, Ellen Carol, ed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches. New York: Schocken Books, 1981. Includes critical comments by DuBois and gives an inside look at Stanton’s work in conjunction with Susan B. Anthony.

Forster, Margaret. “Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902.” In Significant Sisters, 203-238. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. A well-written chapter in a book about prominent feminists. It makes extensive use of Cady Stanton’s letters and other original sources in conveying a vivid sense of her personality.

Ginzberg, Lori D. Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009. An engaging, balanced biography of the feminist icon.

Griffin, Elisabeth. In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. A scholarly biography.

Kern, Kathi. Mrs. Stanton’s Bible. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001. Traces the impact of Stanton’s religious dissent on the suffrage movement and presents the first book-length reading of her radical text The Woman’s Bible.

Loos, Pamela. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001. Drawing largely on Stanton’s autobiography as well as a few other sources, Loos presents a surprisingly detailed psychological and emotional portrait of the revolutionary. Intended for middle school students but useful for older readers as well.

Ward, Geoffrey C., and Ken Burns. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, an Illustrated History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. With contributions by historians and dozens of contemporary photographs, this book provides a view of the suffrage movement through the eyes of the women who fought for it.