Born Elizabeth Cady in Johnstown, New York. b. 1815 d. 1902.
Born into a well to do family, Elizabeth Cady received the best education
available... to women.
This led her to deep regrets
about not being able to receive a full college education
based on her sex. After her education
at the Emma Willard Academy
, she settled
uneasily into the life of a woman of her social standing
. Eventually she met Henry B. Stanton
, an older man
actively involved in politics
Henry Stanton's devotion to the anti-slavery movement led to them honeymooning in London at the World Antislavery Convention of 1840. The convention introduced Elizabeth to Lucretia Mott, the most notable female abolitionist of the time. The friendship that developed led to an awakening of Elizabeth's interest in women's rights.
In seven years, Elizabeth managed to bear seven of Henry's children and they moved to Seneca Falls, New York. Weary of the domestic life and childbearing, Elizabeth worked with Lucretia Mott to organize the world's first women's rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. There, even Mott became distressed with Stanton's radical ideas. Elizabeth insisted on including women's suffrage in the convention's resolutions.
Three years later, in 1851, Elizabeth Cady Stanton would meet Susan B. Anthony (who was not yet aware of her posthumous involvement in the Susan B. Anthony dollar debacle). The two had a shared dedication to the emancipation of women, and much to the dismay of their contemporaries they tied woman's suffrage to black suffrage in their efforts at reform.
With Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Women's Loyal League during the American Civil War to support the constitutional abolition of slavery. Later, they would criticize the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution on the grounds that they ignored the issue of women's suffrage.
In the 1860s, Elizabeth Cady Stanton created a rift between women's rights advocates by endorsing divorce law liberalization by encouraging women to leave unhappy marriages, which she called the "right to self-sovereignty." These beliefs would later lead to her association with Victoria Woodhull, who endorsed "free love" long before the 1960s were even conceptually existent.
As the 1870s progressed, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was advocating not only liberalized divorce laws, but reproductive self-determination and sexual freedom for women. Because these ideas were considered radical and extreme, she found herself excluded from the mainstream of the women's movement.
She further alienated herself from the mainstream over her disdain for organized religion. After a trip to England in the 1880s, she returned to America to find that Christian political activists were working against the issues she believed in, supporting a reversal of the divorce law changes she had long fought for. Standing in opposition to their efforts, she found herself in direct conflict with the new spearhead of the women's movement, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Even Susan B. Anthony would no longer stand at her side.
In 1898 she was censured by the National American Woman's Suffrage Association, the first major organization to openly support her cause of suffrage, for publishing her book, The Woman's Bible, which was considered a highly irreverent commentary on feminism. For the next four years, until her death in 1902, she would continue to fight for her cause... alone.