Elizabeth C. Stanton

Leading Figure of Women's Rights Movement

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

Born on November 12, 1815, Elizabeth Cady Stanton first became aware of the injustices against women as a child when she visited her father's law office. Reading her father's law books, she found that the law offered women little protection and denied them the right to vote or own property. So angered was she, that she had wanted to take up scissors and cut up those books. Later when her brother died, she resolved to prove to her father, who was in grief over his son's death, that she was just as good as a boy. Throughout her life, this resolve would be what drove the women's rights movement.


Seneca Falls and the Declaration of Sentiments

In 1848, Stanton, along with other suffragists, organized the first women's rights convention in US history. Held in Seneca Falls, New York and attended by 300 people, the convention was addressed by Lucretia Mott and Mary Ann McClintock. Stanton herself read from a document she wrote called the "Declaration of Sentiments." Based on the Declaration of Independence, the document called for equal rights for women and listed 18 grievances along with 12 resolutions. It was signed by 100 people at the convention. However, when the convention received much criticism from the press, who called it a "most shocking and unnatural incident," many of those 100 people withdrew their names. Nevertheless, the convention was an important first step in the women's rights movement.

Legacy

Stanton devoted the rest of her life to achieving women's rights. She spoke at many assemblies and wrote many articles and journals championing her ideas. She was considered one of the more radical women's suffragists. Strongwilled and undaunted by criticism, she shocked the nation with her many ideas and continued writing and lecturing well into old age until the loss of her eyesight, and even then, she stayed up to date on issues regarding women's suffrage.