Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) was an American social activist, abolitionist and prominent leader in the early women’s rights movement. While her early political agenda included the abolishment of slavery, she eventually focused her efforts almost entirely on women’s rights.
Stanton was formally educated from a young age, attending the Johnstown Academy and Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary. Upon graduating, Stanton forged her own path by seeking the company of energetic, like-minded individuals involved in abolitionism and other social movements. She and abolitionist Henry Stanton were married in May 1840. After living in Boston for a few years, the couple relocated to Seneca Falls, N.Y. where she became better acquainted with Lucretia Mott, an abolitionist and women’s rights activist she had met at the World Anti-Slavery Convention. The women shared a vision of a women’s rights convention, and drafted the “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” a document demanding the equality, respect and acknowledgment of women in society. It was signed by 68 women and 32 men, and was presented to a group of 300 at the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., on July 19, 1848.
Stanton also formed a friendship and partnership with Susan B. Anthony; Stanton wrote electric speeches that Anthony delivered with conviction. With their passion for equality and combined skills, the two women sparked a nationwide revolution.
Stanton remained at the forefront of the women’s rights movement, earning women the rights to go to college; own property in their own name; keep their own earnings; end a marriage based on cruelty, drunkenness or desertion; to be treated as full citizens; sue in the court of law; serve on a jury; and to run for office and vote in public elections.