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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Stanton, Elizabeth Cady

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STANTON, Elizabeth Cady, American reformer: b. Johnstown, N. Y., 12 Nov. 1815; d. New York, 26 Oct. 1902. She was graduated from Emma Willard Seminary, Troy, N. Y., in 1832 and was married to Henry Brewster Stanton (q.v.) in 1840. Her attention was first attracted to the disabilities of her sex when at 15 she was prepared to enter college and found none in which she could obtain the education which her brothers received. She afterward studied Blackstone, Story and Kent, and while in London, in 1847, met Lucretia Mott, with whom in the following year she issued the first call for a woman-suffrage convention to be held in her home at Seneca Falls. From that time her career was one long struggle for equal rights for both sexes. The general principles for which she strove were equal educational advantages, equal rights of suffrage and of property, and more intelligent divorce laws. She addressed the New York legislature on the rights of married women in 1854 and again in 1860, advocating divorce for drunkenness. In 1866, she offered herself as a congressional candidate and for 25 years annually addressed congressional committees in the endeavor to gain a constitutional amendment granting enlarged privileges to women. She was president of the Women's Loyal League in 1861 and of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1865-93. She traveled and lectured in all parts of the United States and also made addresses in England, Scotland and France. Throughout her entire career, Mrs. Stanton's personal life was a model of the fulfilment of the duties of a wife and mother, her public career never operating to the neglect of her social and home life. While the changes which have been wrought cannot definitely be declared the result of the exertions of Mrs. Stanton and her immediate associates, a great change certainly came about in her lifetime. The education within the reach of her brothers but unattainable for herself in her girlhood is now within the reach of any determined girl, and the changes in legislation are even more noticeable. The laws which placed a woman's property absolutely at her husband's disposal have been replaced by those which give her equal rights with him, or possibly superior, since the law recognizes no claim on the woman for family support, and her earnings are her own. Her intellect, energy and perseverance, and her womanly traits made her generally respected, and she is rightfully regarded as the mother of the movement. She presided over the first International Council of Women held in Washington in 1888, was one of the founders and afterward editor of The Revolution, and a frequent contributor to English and American magazines. She published ‘Eighty Years and More’ (1895); and was joint author of ‘The History of Woman Suffrage’ (1881-86) and edited ‘The Woman's Bible’ (1895).


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