Elizabeth Cady Stanton, activist and mom
Activist for social good and a common mother
Elizabeth Cady was born in 1810. Many women in her time never attended school. Most 19th century women never graduated. Elizabeth graduated from Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y. in 1832. She resented the fact that most schools in her time excluded women. Elizabeth had strong anti slavery opinions and was learning that women needed to be able to seek their rights as citizens themselves. She met a man named Henry Stanton. He was an abolitionist thinker as well. The couple married in 1840. She never took on the title of Mrs. Stanton. She was one of the first women to add her husbands surname to her own rather than drop hers.
Henry and Elizabeth took their honeymoon in London, England in hopes of attending the reknown World Anti-Slavery Convention that took place in London that year. Elizabeth would soon find out women were excluded from the convention. Herself and freind Lucretia Mott were denied entrance to the popular event. The two women were livid! They were greatly dissappointed.
For eight long years Elizabeth and Lucretia worked with a group of women who planned to hold a Women Right's Convention. This group included Susan B. Anthony. These women knew this would be a historic event. They were ridiculed for their efforts however, they continued to organize. After 8 years, the very first Woman's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. on July 19th, 1848. Three hundred persons attended. 260 were women. 40 attendees were men.
These women not only fought for women's rights and advocated for women earning their born right to vote, they addressed many other social and political issues as well. They advocated for better justice in family custody cases. They made people aware of a woman's right to a divorce when she was abused and unhappy. The women advocated for free speech for women, abolishing slavery, and brought the need for employment opportunities for women out in the open. All of these ladies worked to improve the education of all females.
During this time Elizabeth earned the respect of other women around the nation fighting for the same cause. While being an active part of this groundbreaking movement, Elizabeth gave birth to seven children kept a house all while remaining an activist. She washed, line dried and ironed clothes. Mothers role play! She, like any other mother was sometimes a nurse and sometimes a teacher. She cooked, cleaned, fed her family and most likely tended a garden. She was one of the first women in American history to claim she did it all. She had the best of both world's. She made her mark on American history all while raising a family.
I cannot even imagine the law preventing me from voting. It seems so unreal; so impossible. We all need to remember and thank women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton every time we go to the ballot box. Without their life long struggle we would not be there. They endured hardships and insults knowing they would not live to see the results of their work. They did it for us so we could hope and reach our dreams.
By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, historical fiction writer and author of the novel, Liberty for the Lion Shield
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