Happy Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton!
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (holding her daughter Harriet)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the great leaders of the suffrage movement through the 19th century. An abolitionist, she was one of the five women who organized the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.
Elizabeth advocated not only for women's suffrage but for women's property rights, custody rights, employment, and temperance.
In 1851 she met Susan B. Anthony and the two became the dynamic duo of suffrage. Elizabeth often wrote Anthony's speeches, especially after Elizabeth's seven children took up more of her time. She had a keen intellect and much of her legal knowledge came from being around her father, Judge Daniel Cady, who allowed her to read his law books.
Elizabeth was the first woman to run for Congress in 1866. She received 24 votes.
She along with Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote a three volume work called History of Women's Suffrage.
One of her most popular speeches that she gave frequently was called Our Girls. She gave this speech and variations of it throughout the 1880s. It has a motherly tone. Beautifully written, it relayed to young women--and their parents--that women needed an education and the ability to choose their own destiny. It is notable that both of her daughters finished college and became suffragists Here is an excerpt; the "they" are girls/young women:
They have awakened to the fact that they belong to a subject, degraded, ostracized class: that to fulfill their man appointed sphere, they can have no individual character, no life purpose, personal freedom, aim or ambition. They are simply to revolve round some man, to live only for him, in him, with him, to be fed, clothed, housed, guided and controlled by him, to-day by Father or Brother, tomorrow by Husband or Son, no matter how wise or mature, they are never to know the freedom and dignity that one secures in self-dependence and self support. Girls feel all this, though they may never utter it, far more keenly than kind Fathers imagine.
You can read the whole speech here.
Susan B. Anthony wrote after death, "she forged the lightning bolts" that Anthony fired in her speeches. Four years later, Susan B. would pass as well.
Ken Burns did a great documentary on the dynamic duo. It's called "Not for Ourselves Alone: The story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" and if you can catch it next year, I suggest you do!
Have a great day!