Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an important element of the Womens Rights Movement, but not many people know of her significance or contributions because she has been overshadowed by her long time associate and friend, Susan B. Anthony. However, I feel that she was a woman of great importance who was the driving force behind the 1848 Convention, played a leadership role in the womens rights movement for the next fifty years, and in the words of Henry Thomas, She was the architect and author of the movements most important strategies ad documents.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in 1815 into an affluent family in Johnstown, New York. Now, while Stanton was growing up, she tried to imitate her brothers academic achievements due to the fact that her parents, Daniel and Mary Livingston Cady, preferred their sons to their daughters. In trying to copy her male siblings, she got an extraordinary education: she went to Johnstown Academy and studied Greek and mathematics; she learned how to ride and manage a horse; she became a skilled debater; and she attended the Troy Female Seminary in New York (one of the first women s academies to offer an advanced education equal to that of male academies) where she studies logic, physiology, and natural rights philosophy.
However, it wasnt her education, but watching her father, who was a judge and lawyer, handle his cases, that cause her to become involved in various movements because it was in court with her father that she saw firsthand how women suffered legal discrimination. It was here that she realized that the laws were unfair and resolved to do whatever she could to change them. She used her unique ability to draw from wide-ranging sources in legal areas as well as in political and literary areas. With her knowledge of literature, he created narratives that produced a variety of emotions ranging from delight to destruction.
However, as this was going on, another important even took place. In 1840, Elizabeth married abolitionist organizer and journalist, Henry Stanton. Over the course of their marriage, Elizabeth and Henry had seven children in the next fifteen years, but even with the responsibility of taking care of her children, Stanton found time to do many other things to further the rights of others. For instance, the very same year that she married her husband, Stanton accompanied her spouse to London to attend the World Abolitionist Convention in June 1840 where she met Lucretia Mott, her close friend and intellectual mentor. Mott and Stanton became allies to fight the crusade for womens rights because the female delegates attending the convention were denied recognition. They were so humiliated and appalled at the way that they were treated that they were determined to call together a womens right convention when they went back home. Finally, eight years late on July 19, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York, five women met to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women. Stanton acted as the leader and thus, wrote the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, which included a womens bill of rights and listed demands for social equality.
Nonetheless, it was when Stanton met Susan B. Anthony in 1851 that did a great deal for the advancement of womens rights. Anthony helped Stanton to develop her intellectual skepticism and activity, and Stanton considered her to be a mentor. Also, Anthonys organizing abilities complemented Stantons more philosophical focus, but the womens movement was still within the larger antislavery movement, and when slavery ended, so did the supports from the abolitionist. Stanton and Anthony were outraged at this betrayal and created the independent National Woman Suffrage Association in 1868, and Stanton served as its president for the next 21 years. This organization allowed Stanton to have a substantial impact on American customs, traditions, and laws relating to the rights of women. Her philosophy was that change could only result after a total self-dependence and self-reliance. She believed that women could actually achieve their actual potential once they were freed from the entrapment of mens social, moral, and legal traditions. And with this belief and as the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, she went out and began