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Elizabeth Cady Stanton (National Cyclopaedia)

Reference

“Stanton, Elizabeth Cady,” The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White & Company, 1893), 3: 84-85.

STANTON, Elizabeth Cady, reformer, was born at Johnstown, N. Y., Nov. 12, 1815…In 1840 she married Henry B. Stanton, already well known as a leader and lecturer in the anti-slavery movement. Mr. Stanton being a delegate to the "World's Anti-Slavery convention" held in London in June, 1840, they went to that city on their wedding trip. Here her indignation was stirred anew by the imputation of inferiority cast upon women by the refusal to admit Mrs. Mott and other American women who had been regularly appointed delegates. In Mrs. Mott she met for the first time a liberal-minded thinker among her own sex, and the friendship thus begun continued through forty years, and assisted in determining Mrs. Stanton to devote her life and energies to the social, political and moral elevation of women…In 1846 she removed to Seneca Falls, and, with Mrs. Mott and others, issued the call for the first Woman's Rights convention. It was held at Seneca Falls July 19 and 20, 1848, and inaugurated the woman-suffrage movement. Though in her call she defined the object of the convention to be the discussion of the social, civil and religious rights of women, and made no allusion to women's political rights, yet in her declaration of sentiments, which she prepared as a basis for discussion, she declared it to be the duty of "women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise," which, has ever since been the keynote of the movement. Neither her husband, who had prepared for the convention an abstract of the laws bearing unjustly against the property interests of women, nor Mrs. Mott, who was the ruling spirit of the occasion, approved of Mrs. Stanton's demand for the ballot, and argued that it would only bring ridicule on the cause. Mrs. Stanton persisted, however, and spoke vigorously and eloquently in [defence] of her course, with the result that her declaration and resolutions in detail were adopted by the convention. This new departure of the movement had no sympathizers outside the convention, and of those members who signed, many requested later to have their names withdrawn. Judge Cady, alarmed at his daughter's radicalism, hastened to her home, where he labored anxiously with her, but in vain, to change her convictions. In 1850 Miss Anthony became Mrs. Stanton's associate laborer in reform — the former managing affairs, the latter writing — each supplementing the work of the other, and both laboring with unselfish ambition and enthusiasm for the cause of woman's rights. Whatever may have been imprudent in their utterances, or impolitic in their methods, their motives have always been the result of the highest moral regard for woman's advancement socially and morally. For forty years they have been co-workers and devoted friends, and likened to the two sticks of a drum in keeping up the "rub-a-dub of agitation." Mrs. Stanton has lectured widely to secure the abolition of laws unjust to her sex: she has also frequently addressed state legislatures, asking for changes in the laws relating to intemperance, education, divorce, slavery and suffrage. Her declaration was modeled after Jefferson's declaration of independence, and constituted the first public demand on record for woman suffrage, and she may be considered the originator of the movement. In 1806, believing women to be eligible to public office, though denied the elective franchise, she offered herself as a candidate for congress from the eighth New York district. In her announcement she said: "Belonging to a disfranchised class, I have no political antecedents to recommend me to your support; but my creed is free speech, free press, free men, and free trade — the cardinal points of democracy." She received twenty-four votes. With Miss Anthony and Parker Pillsbury she established and edited in New York the woman's rights journal, called the "Revolution.”…She has resided for many years at Tenafly, N. J., where her home has been an attractive social centre. Her ready wit and good nature, her sympathy with the oppressed, her scorn of wrong, her charity, her love for justice and liberty, her intellectual ability and moral energy, give this woman, admirable in character and life, a unique place in the history of American women. Like Daniel O'Connell, it has been her custom to claim everything for her sex, in order to obtain something; and in devoting her life to securing for women the elective franchise, she has sought to preserve to them all their womanliness, the possibility of which is best illustrated in her own life.
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