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Elizabeth Cady Stanton (American National Biography)

Scholarship

Ann D. Gordon, "Stanton, Elizabeth Cady,” American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00640.html.

[In 1862] Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated the call for a women's rights convention. From that meeting at Seneca Falls, on 19-20 July 1848, women issued the demand that their sacred right to the elective franchise be recognized. They wrote a Declaration of Sentiments and resolutions, arguing that consistency with the fundamental principles of the American Revolution required an end to women's taxation without representation and government without their consent. It accused men of usurping divine power and denying women their consciences by dictating the proper sphere of womankind. To illustrate women's disabilities under the law, the authors echoed attacks by legal reformers on English common law, particularly the principle that a woman lost her individual identity and rights when she married. The largest group at the 1848 meeting were antislavery Quakers from Rochester and Waterloo, New York, dissidents in the Society of Friends who were establishing the Congregational (later Progressive) Friends. Among them the convention's message found its strongest support, at a second convention in Rochester a few weeks later, in a modest petition campaign for woman suffrage late in 1848, and in the yearly meetings of Progressive Friends thereafter. Decades later Stanton wrote that advocacy of suffrage for women met resistance and that Frederick Douglass helped her to sway the crowd in its favor. Though nothing in the contemporary record confirms that story, the opposition of Friends and Garrisonians to voting could explain why participants doubted the importance of suffrage.
How to Cite This Page: "Elizabeth Cady Stanton (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/17558.