Woman of the Century/Elizabeth Cady Stanton
STANTON, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady, reformer and philanthropist, born in Johnstown, N. Y., 12th November, 1815. She is the daughter of the late Judge Daniel Cady and Margaret Livingston Cady. She was a child of marked intelligence, and her cultured parents gave her the benefit of a thorough education. She took the course in the academy in Johnstown, and then went to Mrs. Emma Willard's seminary, in Troy, N. Y., where she was graduated in 1832. She had, in her youth, in her father's law office, heard much talk of the injustice of the laws, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON. and she early learned to rebel against the inequity of law, which seemed to her made only for men. In childhood she even went so far as to hunt up unjust laws, with the aid of the students in her father's office, and was preparing to cut the obnoxious clauses out of the books, supposing that that would put an end to them. She soon learned that the abolition of inequitable laws could not be thus simply achieved. She learned Latin and Greek, and she was active in sport as well as study. She was disappointed in her ambition to enter Union College, where her brother was graduated just before his death. Her life in Mrs. Willard's seminary for two years was made dreary through her disappointment and her sorrow over not being a boy. She was full of mischief in school, and many of her pranks are told by the survivors of her class. While in Troy, she heard a sermon preached by Rev. Charles G. Finney, ex-president of Oberlin College, which had an evil effect on her. She became nervous, convinced that she was doomed to eternal punishment, and finally grew so ill that she was forced to leave the seminary. After recovering from the prostration incident to that shock, she joined the Johnstown church, but was never contented or happy in its gloomy faith. She remained seven years in Johnstown, reading and riding, studying law, painting and drawing. Her studies in law have since served her well in her struggles for reform. In 1839 she met Henry Brewster Stanton, the anti-slavery orator, journalist and author, and in 1840 they were married. They went on a trip to London, Eng. Mrs. Stanton had been appointed a delegate to the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in that city. There she met Lucretia Mott, with whom she signed the first call for a woman's rights convention. On that occasion Lucretia Mott, Sarah Pugh, Emily Winslow, Abby Kimber, Mary' Grew and Anne Greene Phillips, after spending their lives in anti-slavery work and traveling three-thousand miles to attend the convention, found themselves excluded from the meeting, because they were women. Returning to the United States, Mr. and Mrs. Stanton settled in Boston, Mass., where Mr. Stanton practiced law. The Boston climate proved too harsh for him, and they removed to Seneca Falls, N. Y. In that town, on 19th and 20th July, 1848, in the Wesleyan Chapel, the first assemblage known in history as a "woman's rights convention" was held. Mrs. Stanton was the chief agent in calling that convention She received and cared for the visitors, she wrote the resolutions and declaration of aims, and she had the satisfaction of knowing that the convention, ridiculed throughout the Union, was the starting point of the woman's rights movement, which is now no longer a subject of ridicule. Judge Cady, hearing that bis daughter was the author of the audacious resolution, "That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise," imagined that she had gone crazy, and he journeyed from Johnstown to Seneca Falls, to learn whether or not her brilliant mind had lost its balance. He tried to reason her out of her position, but she remained unshaken in her faith that her position was right. Since that convention she has been one of the leaders of the women of the United States. In 1853, in Cleveland, Ohio, in the woman's rights convention. Lucretia Mott, who had tried to persuade Mrs. Stanton not to force the franchise clause in the Seneca Falls convention, proposed to have it adopted, as a fitting honor to Mrs. Stanton. In 1854 she addressed the New York legislature on the rights of married women, and, in 1860, in advocacy of divorce for drunkenness. In 1867 she spoke before the legislature and the constitutional convention of New York, maintaining that, during the revision of its constitution, the State was resolved into its original elements, and that citizens of both sexes, therefore, had a right to vote for members of the convention. In Kansas, in 1867, and Michigan, in 1874. when those States were submitting the woman-suffrage question to the people, she canvassed the States and did heroic work in the cause. From 1855 to 1865 she served as president of the national committee of the suffrage party. In 1863 she was president of the Woman's Loyal League. Until 1890 she was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1868 she was a candidate for Congress in the Eighth Congressional District of New York, and in her address to the electors of the district she announced her creed to be " Free speech, free press, free men and free trade." Among the journals that supported her in that contest was the New York "Herald," and she received just twenty-four votes in the district In 1868 "The Revolution" was started in New York City, and Mrs. Stanton became the editor, assisted by Parker Pillsbury. The publisher was Susan B. Anthony. She is joint author of "The History of Woman Suffrage." of which the first and second volumes were published in 1880, in New York City, and the third volume in 1886. in Rochester, N. Y. Her family consists of five sons and two daughters, all of whom are living, and some are gifted and famous. Mrs. Stanton is a vigorous woman of commanding size, gray-haired and dark-eyed. She possesses conversational powers of the highest order. As an orator, she is forceful, logical, witty, sarcastic and eloquent She has the mental force of a giant. In public debates and private arguments she has shown herself the polemic equal of many of the most brilliant men of her time. She believes that social and national safety lies alone in the purity of the individual, and in the full and free bestowal upon the individual, regardless of sex, of all the rights and privileges of citizenship. She was met with abuse, ridicule and misrepresentation at the beginning of her crusade for the women of the country, and she has lived down all and seen her cherished ambition fruited here and there, and the public brought to look upon woman suffrage as something to be desired.