Elizabeth Cady Stanton - HISTORY
the two movements disagreed completely on the relationship between their primary goal of many national groups: for example, the National Anti-Slavery Feminists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first met as delegates the mid-nineteenth century: Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony proposed the idea at a. States, and the dual biographies of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It explores Anthony and Stanton's relationships with their parents, especially writings, but the film does not explain how suffrage related to these goals. By the couple were settled in Seneca Falls in a house bought for them by Judge . Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton complemented each other in their She had a single-mindedness of purpose which a single woman, .
The legal system still maintained the power of all men over their wives, no matter how cruel and unkind they may be. The minister performing the ceremony was troubled by this detour from convention, and Elizabeth was convinced that the lengthy prayer he offered after the ceremony—lasting nearly an hour—was payback for this crucial omission from their marriage vows. There is no evidence that the matter troubled her husband. Even so, others in their reform-minded circles went further to advance equality in marriage.
Theodore Weld, who wed the feminist and abolitionist Angelina Grimke invowed to treat his wife as an equal partner in their marriage.
Marrying inHenry Blackwell went much further, denouncing marriage as an institution that enforced male dominance over women.
Other male reformers supported or worked alongside their wives in the suffrage struggle. Daniel Cady repeatedly lamented the fact that Elizabeth was female because he believed her intellect and forceful personality would go to waste in a woman. Women in the world they lived in were meant to attend to the hearth and home, not to go out into the world to become intellectuals or, worse still, rabble-rousing activists.
At the same time, her father was not completely unmoved by seeing Elizabeth act on her convictions. When Elizabeth responded by reminding him of all the laws that privileged men and harmed women, her father turned to his law books to provide her with another example that would help further illustrate her point.
While never more than outwardly lukewarm to her feminist efforts, Daniel Cady often provided support in this way—giving her legal ammunition to use in her writings and speeches. Elizabeth was accustomed to receiving only the dimmest signs of approval from her father.
So as an adult, she neither expected nor needed the motivation of resounding applause for her suffrage work from Henry Stanton. During this period, Henry studied law under Daniel Cady, before taking up a position in Boston in She also visited the utopian Brook Farm community, admiring its idealism, though not the spartan way of life of its inhabitants.
Elizabeth loved Boston, and the art, culture, and intellectual life it had to offer. The loss of all this made the adjustment to rural life difficult for her when, inthe couple moved to Seneca Falls in upstate New York.
By they had three children, and there would be more—each named in honor of a beloved family member or friend: In her earliest years as a wife and mother, Cady Stanton found fulfillment in managing a household. In fact, she thrived on the day-to-day challenge to do so with order and efficiency. After a time, the novelty had worn off, and she found housework mundane and depressing. She also found herself sympathizing with everyday women who did not have the same access to power and privilege that she had.
Assisting victims of domestic abuse in the area on several occasions, Cady Stanton saw how the same unjust laws that she had intuitively resented and wanted to change as a child were especially burdensome to women without means. Just at this point in her life, an invitation for a visit came from Lucretia Mott, who was only eight miles away in Waterloo.
In one afternoon, the group planned and announced the two-day meeting, the first of its kind.
For Stanton, All Women Were Not Created Equal
It was to be held only five days later. The event was a success that far exceeded the expectations of Cady Stanton and her convention co-planners. While a group of about fifty devoted social reformers from nearby Rochester and Syracuse were expected to participate, over two hundred people attended. Nearly seventy signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which Cady Stanton had authored, modeling it after the American Declaration of Independence. Anthony, playing complementary roles. Anthony was the strategist, tactician, and all-round logistics coordinator.
Cady Stanton was the philosophical thinker, writer, and theoretician. Anthony, makes for a unique and compelling story. On the surface, the two could not have been more different.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Cady Stanton was born of privilege, had a forceful and sometimes challenging personality, was fond of luxury, was a religious skeptic, and refused to believe that women had to choose between motherhood and public activism.
But for some reason, the contrasts between Cady Stanton and Anthony served to complement, rather than to compete with, each other. When Cady Stanton was unable to attend a convention, Anthony would often read the speech Elizabeth had written. Writing with eloquence, Cady Stanton could pen an essay or speech with ease, an ability that Anthony greatly admired.
While the relationship between Stanton and Anthony remained stable, the movement they were part of was not always placid.
Once the war had ended and slavery had been abolished, Stanton and Anthony joined Frederick Douglass and others to form the American Equal Suffrage Association. This organization was devoted to securing voting rights for newly-freed African Americans and for all women simultaneously. It was inconceivable to Stanton and her colleagues that their male advocates had failed to bring women along in the struggle for voting rights. In response Stanton and her white female colleagues made arguments on behalf of women that today smack of elitism, if not outright racism.
Stanton, Anthony, and others felt strongly that any change to the constitution involving voting rights simply must be universal—it must include African American males and females, as well as white women and others who did not yet hold the franchise. Yet clearly the pair of activists were willing to turn a blind eye to the ways in which their arguments fueled the fires of race-hate across the nation.
The AWSA ultimately endorsed the amendment giving only African American males the vote, believing that their good will and co-operative spirit would be rewarded in time. They also competed for members and political support. It was not until that the divided movement reunited and was renamed the National American Suffrage Association, continuing the voting rights struggle for another thirty years.
While she served as the philosopher of the suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony served as its strategist. Historians have noted that their respective strengths complemented each other. Equally significant is the different approaches they took to securing rights for women. Anthony was single-minded in her quest for the vote as the stepping stone that would provide women access to all other rights.
If only women could vote and hold public office, they would then be able to self-advocate: Women could vote for candidates with policies that empower and support women and their families. They could press for changes to laws related to marriage, divorce, and custody for children.
Women could help enact any number of provisions that would give them more power and influence in society. If only they had the vote. She began discussing this subject early in her work as a reformer. Prohibitions against rigorous academic training for girls and women thwarted their intellectual growth and thus the levels of personal and social development they could achieve.
The tradition of single-sex education further exacerbated this problem. The respective weaknesses of men and women which Stanton believed were not natural to each gender but nurtured by social norms and values were reinforced when they were deprived of interaction. This perpetuated the imbalance of power based on gender. Without properly exercising their intellectual powers and being challenged to make difficult academic and moral distinctions, women were unable to function as independent decision-makers.
This harmed not only women as individuals, but also the social institutions they are a part of: The family, the local community, and the state. In this sense, Stanton laid the foundation for what would later be called liberal feminism, a school of feminist thought which maintains that women are more similar to men than they are different from them. Thus, it aims for equal treatment of men and women, particularly in matters related to education, employment, pay equity and political participation.
Among the most controversial was divorce. She was under none of the popular illusions that marriage was a blessed institution that, fairytale-like, brought out the best in people. She resented the suggestion that a virtuous and patient woman could persuade—through her love, faith or virtue—a domineering, alcoholic or abusive man to become a more kind and considerate husband. Their own moral character was compromised, as was the overall moral tone of their home and family. Speaking in favor of pending legislation in New York that would liberalize divorce policies, Stanton said that rather than prevent a woman from leaving an abusive and alcoholic husband, the law should prohibit such men from getting married.
Such a policy would go much farther toward protecting the institution of marriage than the laws that prevailed in the day were able to do. This is a branch of feminist thought that focuses on the differences between men and women. It concludes that, whether natural or socially constructed, gender distinctions are used to reinforce male dominance and female submission. They also venture into territory that Stanton and her contemporaries only dared to hint at in the age of Victorian propriety: Domestic violence, rape, incest, pornography, and prostitution.
The aim of dominance feminism is to overturn the male power structure that makes these abuses of women possible. Men thus became like monarchs ruling over all classes of society, who could readily wield tyrannical force, if they willed to do so. All the other social inequalities that concerned Stanton trickled down from this one arena—that of legal and political rights.
Significantly, when Stanton spoke in favor of universal suffrage—that is, of extending voting rights to not only all African American males but also to all women—after the Civil War, she cautioned against maintaining distinctions among the various classes of people in society. The entire class of African Americans held in slavery had been prohibited from voting since the founding of the country.
As legislators considered extending the franchise, Stanton implored them to erase all similar social distinctions. Women should no longer be treated as a separate class of individuals who are prohibited from voting any more than newly freed African Americans should. On American soil, Stanton said, all citizens were to be granted equal consideration in this way.
This stance, too, created some friction for Stanton as the post-Civil War discourse on voting rights got underway. While other suffragists, like Lucy Stone, were willing to consider partial suffrage, which would allow women to vote on local issues of concern to them, like education or municipal budgets, Stanton and Anthony held firm: Women are equal in all ways to men and should be treated as such.
At times they displayed their own class biases on this point. She took this insult very personally indeed. Is it possible to sympathize, however grudgingly, with Judge Cady? But the man had just lost his only living son, at an age when the young man's promise was evident but his path not clearly marked, and at a time when a man such as the judge could reasonably rest his ambitions for succession only on boys.
It is possible to read Daniel Cady's comment to his daughter not simply as a putdown, though it surely was that, but also as an acknowledgment that her intellect and her wit would in fact have found more expansive arenas if she had been a boy.
Elizabeth's father was neither so wrong nor uniquely old-fashioned in feeling a twinge of regret that this gifted child was a girl, for in the judge's world, and pretty much everyplace else, the barriers that limited her sex were real indeed. To hear Stanton tell it, she spent her girlhood days trying to impress her learned father, live up to the standards set by her brother, and learn from the law students who wandered through the house.
That the household was not composed exclusively of men seems largely to have escaped her notice. To her daughter, Mrs. It was she, presumably, who often placed the young Elizabeth "under punishment for what, in those days, were called 'tantrums'" but that Stanton insisted were "justifiable acts of rebellion against the tyranny of those in authority. Unfortunately, neither Stanton's account nor other historical documents offer clues about what ambivalence Margaret Cady might have felt about her rebellious daughter.
If, in Stanton's recollections, Judge Cady embodied the hard-line patriarchal attitudes that shaped his daughter's rebellion, Mrs. Cady was the regal exemplar of discipline, and Elizabeth Cady's younger sister Margaret was her "fearless and self-reliant" companion, the other women in the Cady household appear largely as the enforcers of conventional attitudes about women's place. Sister Harriet Cady, later Eaton, maintained a tight grip over Elizabeth Stanton's decisions even late in life, and often made the Stanton children miserable with restraint.
Tryphena, the eldest, was conservative to her very bones. Not only would she oppose her younger sister's radical proclamations and actions, but, as Harriot Stanton Blatch recalled, " 'Aunty By' had a leaning to the southern side in Civil War days.
Among Stanton's most quoted reminiscences are stories about the "three colored men, Abraham, Peter, and Jacob, who acted as menservants in our youth. But Peter Teabout was not simply a "manservant"; he was a slave — and he likely remained one untilwhen the last slaves were finally, grudgingly, emancipated in the state of New York.
Johnstown's founder, Sir William Johnson, had brought slaves to central New York in the mid-eighteenth century, and by the time the Cadys arrived, revolutionary declarations of liberty notwithstanding, the practice of holding people in bondage had expanded.
Only in had the state legislature passed a law for gradual, and compensated, emancipation; a very few years before Elizabeth's birth, an African American man or woman in her county remained almost twice as likely to be a slave as to be free. Finally, on July 4,slavery was ended in New York.
African Americans, refusing to have their day of emancipation eclipsed by their white neighbors' own independence, pointedly waited until the following day, the fifth of July, to hold celebrations around the state. Stanton never mentioned that day of emancipation, neither to re. Is it unfair to have expected an eleven-year-old to notice?
Certainly she seethed when one of the judge's law students, Henry Bayard, upon being shown Elizabeth's new Christmas gifts, teased, "if in due time you should be my wife, those ornaments would be mine. She felt no qualms, then or later, about criticizing her father's adherence to convention where the status of women was concerned. But her sensitivity to injustice and her outrage at the laws of property seem not to have extended to Peter Teabout and the other enslaved men in the Cady household.
Like many ambitious young girls, Elizabeth Cady chose men as her role models. Feeling slighted by her father, whom she revered, and apparently unimpressed with what her mother could teach her, she turned to her neighbor, Presbyterian pastor Simon Hosack, for guidance. When Eleazar died, and Elizabeth decided "that the chief thing to be done in order to equal boys was to be learned and courageous," Rev. Hosack agreed to tutor her in Greek and Latin. Horseback riding, the child's measure of heroism itself, she would have to learn on her own.
Her father, "evidently pleased," nevertheless repeated, "Ah, you should have been a boy! Only he, she recalled, offered the "unbounded praises and visions of [her] future success" that she so desperately wanted. As hard as Elizabeth was working to persuade her father that she was "as good as a boy," her student years at the Johnstown Academy actually allowed her to be one of them.
Until she graduated at sixteen, she was "the only girl in the higher classes of mathematics and the languages," and relished as well the "running races, sliding downhill, and snowballing" in which there was "no distinction of sex.
If the young Elizabeth had not later turned that exclusion into a philosophy of woman's rights, we might simply shrug at her teenage self-absorption.
Saints, Sinners and Reformers
After all, the child was indulged in her rebellions, had found an otherwise busy adult to teach her Greek and sing her praises, and enjoyed the attention of young men who were willing to argue with her on all subjects. And although she was barred from Union College, she was hardly deprived of a formal education.
In she entered Emma Willard's school, the Troy Female Seminary, and there received the best education available to girls — not merely a "fashionable" one, as she later sneered.
For all the constraints on women in Elizabeth Cady's youthful world, there had been dramatic change in the area of girls' education.
Their students gathered in schools and literary societies to test the proposition that women's intellects were, in fact, equal to men's. The school served as a model, and indeed a training ground, for the next generation's founders and professors of women's colleges. Elizabeth Cady's own classmates were, like her, the daughters of the elite and professional classes; her younger sisters, Margaret and Catherine, would follow her there in andrespectively.
The school's catalogue of its early graduates reads like a "Who's Who" of the daughters and, later, wives of lawyers, politicians, and merchants. Frances Miller, who later married politician William Henry Seward, had attended the school a decade earlier, as had her sister Lazette, later lawyer Alvah Worden's wife.
But Elizabeth Cady liked boys, and she thought the prospect of an all-girls school "dreary and profitless. But she was not, or not only, a flirt; mostly, she wanted to be one of them, to compete with them on their terms. She would always relish any chance to best "the young masculinity," whom she found so often "mistaking bluster for logic.