Elizabeth Cady Stanton

American writer, suffragist and Women's Rights activist

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (12 November 181526 October 1902) was an American writer and activist who was a leader of the women's rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-19th century. She was the main force behind the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first convention to be called for the sole purpose of discussing women's rights, and was the primary author of its Declaration of Sentiments. Her demand for women's right to vote generated a controversy at the convention but quickly became a central tenet of the women's movement. She was also active in other social reform activities, especially abolitionism.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule...

QuotesEdit

  • The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her... He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective to the franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she has no voice...
    Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise , thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, her has oppressed her on all sides. He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object.
    • Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls Convention (July 19-20, 1848).
  • Resolved, That is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.
    • First Woman's Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, New York, [July, 19-20, 1848]. Resolution IX.
  • 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. The negro's skin and the woman's sex are both prima facie evidence that they were intended to be in subjection to the white Saxon man.
    • Speech before the New York Legislature (1860-02-18).
  • Women's degradation is in man's idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man. Come what will, my whole soul rejoices in the truth that I have uttered.
  • Our "pathway" is straight to the ballot box, with no variableness nor shadow of turning...We demand in the Reconstruction suffrage for all the citizens of the Republic. I would not talk of Negroes or women, but of citizens.
  • We are, as a sex, infinitely superior to men, and if we were free and developed, healthy in body and mind, as we should be under natural conditions, our motherhood would be our glory. That function gives women such wisdom and power as no male can possess.
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.
    • First Woman's Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, New York, [July, 19-20, 1848]. Declaration of Sentiments.
  • I have endeavored to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at last that peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church.
  • For fifty years the women of this nation have tried to dam up this deadly stream that poisons all their lives, but thus far they have lacked the insight or courage to follow it back to its source and there strike the blow at the fountain of all tyranny, religious superstition, priestly power and the canon law.
  • In defense of the right to...marry whom we please -- we might quote some of the basic principles of our government [and] suggest that in some things individual rights to tastes should control....If a good man from Maryland sees fit to marry a disenfranchised woman from New York, there should be no legal impediments to the union.
    • Statement regarding Frederick Douglass' marriage to Helen Pitts. Western New York Suffragists: Frederick Douglass, Rochester Regional Library Council, 2000, "In defense of the right to...marry whom we please -- we might quote some of the basic principles of our government [and] suggest that in some things individual rights to tastes should control....If a good man from Maryland sees fit to marry a disenfranchised woman from New York, there should be no legal impediments to the union." .
  • To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.
    • Address to the Tenth National Women's Rights Convention on Marriage and Divorce, New York City, May 11, 1860; as published in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Feminist as Thinker: A Reader in Documents and Essays edited by Ellen Carol DuBois and Richard Cándida Smith.

Susan B. Anthony (1884)Edit

"Susan B. Anthony" from Our Famous Women: An Authorized Record of the Lives and Deeds of Distinguished American Women of Our Times (1884)
  • All honor to the noble women that have devoted earnest lives to the intellectual needs of mankind!
  • Susan had an earnest soul, a conscience tending to morbidity.
  • In ancient Greece she would have been a Stoic; in the era of the Reformation, a Calvinist; in King Charles's time, a Puritan; but in this nineteenth century, by the very laws of her being, she is a Reformer.

Solitude of Self (1892)Edit

Address delivered by Elizabeth Cady Stanton before the Committee of the Judiciary of the United States Congress, Monday, January 18, 1892
  • The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right, to choose his own surroundings.
  • No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men desire to have them do so, they must make the voyage of life alone, and for safety in an emergency they must know something of the laws of navigation.
  • No mortal ever has been, no mortal ever will be like the soul just launched on the sea of life.
  • To deny political equality is to rob the ostracised of all self-respect; of credit in the market place; of recompense in the world of work; of a voice among those who make and administer the law; a choice in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides their punishment.

The Woman's Bible (1898)Edit

  • Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving.
  • The darkest page in history is the persecutions of woman.
  • Men think that self-sacrifice is the most charming of all the cardinal virtues for women, and in order to keep it in healthy working order, they make opportunities for its illustration as often as possible. I would fain teach women that self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.
  • The only points in which I differ from all ecclesiastical teaching is that I do not believe that any man ever saw or talked with God, I do not believe that God inspired the Mosaic code, or told the historians what they say he did about woman, for all the religions on the face of the earth degrade her, and so long as woman accepts the position that they assign her, her emancipation is impossible.
  • Accepting the view that man was prior in the creation, some Scriptural writers say that as the woman was of the man, therefore, her position should be one of subjection. Grant it, then as the historical fact is reversed in our day, and the man is now of the woman, shall his place be one of subjection?
  • In fact the wives of the patriarchs, all untruthful, and one a kleptomaniac, but illustrate the law, that the cardinal virtues are seldom found in oppressed classes.
  • In the criminal code we find no feminine pronouns, as "He," "His," "Him," we are arrested, tried and hung, but singularly enough, we are denied the highest privileges of citizens, because the pronouns "She," "Hers" and "Her," are not found in the constitutions. It is a pertinent question, if women can pay the penalties of their crimes as "He," why may they not enjoy the privileges of citizens as "He"?

Quotes about Elizabeth Cady StantonEdit

  • The struggle for the right of women to vote was nationwide and growing. It had started with the first Equal Rights Convention, at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, which was addressed by Frederick Douglass, the great Negro leader. The suffragists had been ridiculed, assaulted by mobs, refused halls, arrested for attempting to vote, disowned by their families. By 1904, groups of working women, especially Socialist women, were banding together to join in the demand for the vote. Two years later, International Women's Day was born on the East Side of New York, at the initiative of these women demonstrating for suffrage. It spread around the world and is universally celebrated today, while here it is deprecated as "a foreign holiday."
  • Brave women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony had been the early pioneers, facing abuse and ridicule, violence and even arrests for attempting to vote. Later, women like Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt headed the National American Women's Suffrage Association, which struggled against "the lethargy of women and the opposition of men." But by 1916 a younger, bolder and more militant group emerged, which was dissatisfied with the slower process of winning suffrage, state by state, and fought for a constitutional amendment. They organized the Women's Party in 1916, which planned to mobilize the women's vote in all suffrage states only for parties and candidates who would support national suffrage. That year a group of wealthy suffragists financed and toured in a Suffrage Special. They did not campaign directly for the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes, but their slogan was anti-Wilson: "Vote against Wilson! He Kept Us Out of Suffrage!" Many voted for Eugene V. Debs, then in prison.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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