Elizabeth Cady Stanton

by Michaela Stavropoulos

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal."

The United States in the 1800's was a place where. . .

Girls received less education than boys do.

Girls' activities were limited to "ladylike" endeavors.

Girls and women were considered naturally weaker and inferior to boys and men.

It is shocking and outrageous for a woman to give a speech in public.

Women who spoke in public were ridiculed, reviled, threatened, and attacked.

A married woman did not have the legal right to own property, enter into contracts, sign legal documents, or control what happened to her wages or her children.

The government successfully pressured the Cherokee Indians to eliminate women's traditional power in making tribal decisions.

Women were not allowed to vote.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American feminist who advocated for national women's suffrage. Her and Susan B. Anthony worked together, arranging rallies and meetings in order to convince people to support their cause. She wrote the Declaration of Sentiments during the first women's rights convention organized by women. She was also a mother of seven children, an avid abolitionist, and supported the Temperance Movement.

Early Influences

Stanton grew up in a large house with a wealthy family. Her childhood home was located in Johnstown, New York, which was surrounded by the hills and meadows of the Mohawk Valley. Her father, Daniel Cady, was a lawyer, was elected for one term in Congress, and was a New York judge. When her oldest brother Eleazar died, Stanton became determined to be all her brother was to her father, which sparked the desire for equality. She was the only girl in a class of boys at the Johnstown Academy, and after graduation, she attended Troy Female Seminary. Raised as a Scotch Presbyterian, where predestination was a cornerstone belief, the fate of hell terrified Stanton. Seeing how this was effecting her mental health, her father arranged a six week vacation for his daughter, which transformed Stanton's religious superstition to rational ideas based on scientific facts.

Important people who impacted her views and morals

Activists Stanton Worked With

Personal Sacrifices and Advocating Methods

Stanton had seven children with her husband, Henry Stanton, so she often could not speak at major events. She would write her speeches and mail them to be read at the events, but at times it was hard to concentrate because of her children needing her attention. Other times she would have to leave her children behind with the maid so that she could speak. Henry would disapprove of her speaking tours because she would neglect her motherly responsibilities. He was a New York judge, so he could not look after the children, nor was it his place as the father of the household.

Speaking tours across the country was the main method of Stanton's advocating. Her speeches would be published in local papers or printed out on pamphlets and distributed out. Her speaking tours took advantage of the new Transcontinental Railroad, and she was able to advocate from sea to shining sea because of it.

Seneca Falls Convention

Wednesday, July 19th 1848 at 12pm

Seneca Falls, NY, United States

Seneca Falls, NY

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Declaration of Sentiments

Thursday, July 20th 1848 at 12pm

Seneca Falls, NY, United States

Seneca Falls, NY


The Declaration of Sentiments, primarily written by Stanton, highlighted the key points that feminists advocated for in the 1800's. It was modeled after the Declaration of Independence, and it included a preamble, a list of eighteen grievances, and ended with eleven resolutions. The famous "all men are created equal" was changed to "all men and women are created equal" in order to emphasize the topic of feminism. The list of grievances of the document covered the lack of women's suffrage, participation, and representation in the government; women's lack of property rights in marriage; inequality in divorce law; and inequality in education and employment opportunities. One of the resolutions included the right to vote, which was among the most controversial. Stanton hoped to catch the government's attention with her professional and politically correct language, since female education wasn't widely accepted for the time. She would have stunned any man for speaking in public, let alone speaking out against hyprocrisy. She wanted to pressure the government into passing an amendment to grant women's suffrage and make true the other resolutions.

Short and Long Term Successes

In 1860, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony lobbied the New York Legislature to pass the Married Women's Property Act, which allowed women to keep the property they enter a marriage with and the objects they inherit.

In 1869, Stanton and Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Stanton went on lecture tours across the country advocating for women's suffrage. Women won suffrage in the Wyoming Territory.

In 1890, the NWSA merges with Lucy Stone's American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA); Stanton is voted president. Wyoming became a state with women suffrage in its constitution.

In 1892, Stanton gives her famous speech, "The Solitude of Self," before congressional committees and the NAWSA Convention.

In 1893, women suffrage is approved in Colorado. Marble busts of Stanton, Anthony, and Lucretia Mott were on display at the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1896, women won the right to vote in Idaho.

In 1902, Stanton wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt, asking him to advocate for women suffrage. On October 26, she died three weeks shy of her eighty-seventh birthday.

In 1920, women won the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution.

Stanton's American Experience

Stanton's American experience was a challenging one. In her time period, it was taboo for women to be in public without a male escort. She had many critics which created enormous pressure on her not to fail. Any failure would result in three steps back for one step forward. It was difficult to voice her political opinion on a large public standpoint because the politicians never took her, a woman, seriously. However, she did inspire future generations of feminists and activists. At one of her earlier lectures, she was able to convince Susan B. Anthony to fight for women's suffrage. Her popularity grew with her lecture tours because she was a powerful and persuasive speaker. The feminist movement spread across the country because of her, and the movement persuaded the local governments to grant women's suffrage. Her influence continued after her death until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, granting women's suffrage.

If Stanton was a feminist today. . .

she would continue to advocate for equality between the sexes. Being a feminist literally means that you stand for equal rights between men and women. There will always be a need for feminism and those who support it fully. Stanton would call out the government for injustices on both sides of the spectrum, such as the wage gap between men and women, and the lack of respect that the courts have for men in domestic abuse situations. She would speak out against the objectification of the male or female body. Stanton is arguably the mother of American feminism, so she would not stop advocating for the cause she started.

If I had Stanton's speaking skills, I would commit more to advocating feminism and bringing to light other societal issues. I am a big supporter of fixing the country I live in before fixing a country in another hemisphere, so if I could influence the government through speeches, I would do it.

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Political Cartoon Explanation

I chose to create my political cartoon from the view that Stanton would have had. She spoke to a wide audience of people, which is symbolized by the different colored heads. The remarks that she would receive are depicted by the large block letters, where pink represents other women, blue represents the men, and the red and blue represents the government. Stanton had to have tough skin in order to face this kind of criticism, so I imagined that in order to take her mind off the harshness, she didn't pay attention to what the audience looked like. This is why the heads are not in focus.

Stanton spoke on different issues that her generation faced, such as abolitionism, feminism, and prohibition. She was against sexism and racism, but her critics did not take the time to hear what she planned to say. Her ideas symbolically remained on the paper, since the close minded audience members would not pay attention to what she stood for.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Penny Colman - Book Trailer
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Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony

Sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, the monument was presented to the U.S. Capitol as a gift from the women of the United States by the National Woman's Party and was accepted on behalf of Congress by the Joint Committee on the Library on February 10, 1921.

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When Anthony Met Stanton by Ted Aub

A bronze statue depicting the moment that Amelia Bloomer introduced Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony.