Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Notable Women in History Series

Photo Coutresy: History.com

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is highly-regarded for her part in the fight for woman’s suffrage. She is also known for working closely with Susan B. Anthony for a number of years. Let’s explore some other parts of her life that may be lesser known. 

Elizabeth was born in November 1815 in Johnstown, New York. Her father was a prominent lawyer in town while her mother was considered by many to be a “dominant and vivacious” homemaker. Elizabeth studied at Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary in New York, where she received the best education available for a young woman of the early 1830’s. 

In 1840 she married a reformer named Henry Stanton, whom she met at the home of her cousin, also a reformer. It’s been noted in the annals of history that the word “obey” was omitted from the marriage vows. They spent their honeymoon in London for the purpose of attending the World’s Anti-Slavery convention; unfortunately women were barred admittance. This exclusion from the convention angered a number of the women who had planned to attend and prompted Elizabeth to vow that she would call a woman’s rights convention.

In 1848 she made good on her word and held the first Woman’s Rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY, with the help of Lucretia Mott. She also wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, which called for changes in both law and society – educational, legal, political, social, and economic – to elevate women’s status and demanded the right to vote.

 In 1851, Elizabeth was introduced to Susan B. Anthony, whose equally vehement interest in the fight for women’s rights elicited a collaborative relationship. The two women worked together tirelessly together for decades on speeches, articles, and books in support of woman’s suffrage. In May 1869, Anthony and Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association devoted to obtaining a federal woman suffrage amendment. In 1890, the leaders merged their organization with their rival suffrage organization to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1892, Stanton retired as president of the NAWSA, delivering her Solitude of Self speech at the annual convention. It is considered the fullest expression of her feminist philosophy. Her final work, the second volume of her Woman’s Bible was published in 1895. Stanton died seven years later, just two weeks before her 87th birthday. Eighteen years later, her tireless efforts on behalf of women’s rights were rewarded, at the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which finally enfranchised women.