Here’s 6 Key Contributions Of Elizabeth Cady Stanton To Women’s Rights

Elizabeth Cady

The pages of history are always the gateways to the glorious or murky past. It could either be the unnerving details of bloodshed, wars, or mass murders for any political vendetta. On the contrary, it could also be tales of great revolutions and progressive thinkers who still inspire the youth with their doctrines and the intrepidity with which these leaders helmed the revolutions contributing to creating and impacting world history. Amongst the several revolutions that unhinged the world time after time, one specific movement demands to be mentioned every time a discussion about women’s rights and women’s empowerment comes up, that is the famous feminists movement. These movements could not have been possible without the remarkable participation of some courageous ladies like Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Stone Blackwell, and many more who came along in the later years. While some of these leaders of the famous feminists movements trailblazer the fight against gender inequality, others spoke up in favour of women’s empowerment.

Born to a family of 11 children, a conservative father, and a progressive mother, Elizabeth grew up in an environment that juxtaposed two opposite ideas. Being a part of an affluent family, Elizabeth had access to the best education one could imagine in her time. With a sharp intellect and pure intelligence, Elizabeth went on to become the only girl in her school to join the advanced classes of language and mathematics. She kept on adding to her academic excellence by winning the second prize in an inter-school Greek competition which triggered the skill of debating in little Elizabeth. It was not until her youngest brother’s death and her father’s grief-stricken statement that he wished Elizabeth was a boy, that Elizabeth realised the huge gender gap that considered women’s contribution to be pointless in everything in society. This realisation further intensified when Elizabeth, a fulfilling homemaker started feeling dejected with her ordinary household chores and found herself moved by the struggle faced by underprivileged women because of the unjust laws completely disregarding them as victims of domestic abuse. Since then, her journey as a women’s rights activist and a famous feminist started, and along with Lucretia Mott, who was also an abolitionist and a woman’s rights advocate, she participated in the Seneca Falls Convention which was a turning point in Elizabeth’s life. Since then, she made countless contributions to the field of women’s empowerment and famous feminists movements, some of which are as follows:

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton authored the Declaration of Sentiments at the Seneca Falls Convention emphasising the denial of women’s voting rights, which was highly criticised as a farce by many. However, in the 2-day event at the convention attended by more than 300 men and women, Stanton gave her first speech claiming women’s rights to vote like men.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton along with Lucretia Mott organised the Rochester Women’s Rights Convention, which made a historical change by making Abigail Bush the chairperson of the convention. Appalled by a woman getting the centre stage at a public forum, it was quite disturbing for both men and women, yet it was at the initiative of Stanton that the first National Woman’s Rights Convention was held in the year 1850, kickstarting the materialisation of rights of women to hold office just like the men.
  • In the year 1851, Elizabeth met Susan B. Anthony and both ladies had a bright aptitude for writing as well as analysing intellectual topics. Both the ladies collaborated for another cataclysm in the famous feminists movement which was the submission of the first women’s suffrage petition. It was the charisma of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her prolific writing that brought this issue to the forefront before Congress.
  • In the year 1848, Stanton stood up for women who were abused by their drunkard husbands and appealed to them to take control of their own lives. This stint of Elizabeth at the public speech on behalf of the wives of the drunkard husbands was unimaginably audacious as she questioned the religious establishment of the nation, at the same time claiming that the women should do some charity by giving away their money to the underprivileged instead of educating men, or building temples devoted to some unknown God.
  • Amongst the literary works which were penned by Elizabeth, are the articles that she wrote for a monthly temperance newspaper called The Lily. It was Elizabeth’s pieces that made the newspaper a mouthpiece for propagating the theories of women’s empowerment and rights. She was also the author of The Una, which was a periodical, especially on women’s rights, and the New York Tribune which was a daily newspaper.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton also shattered the traditional dress code for women by adopting the trend of wearing pantaloons under knee-length outfits introduced by her cousin Elizabeth Smith Miller, and widely publicized by her friend and neighbour, Amelia Bloomer. Despite being derided by the men and the traditionalists of society, Stanton ignored all the criticism with her irrefutable logic.

Being one of the chief philosophers and literary guides behind the suffrage movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton poured all her eloquence into her writings. Under the joint initiatives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, The Revolution was published between the years 1868- 1872. However, all these selfless efforts and dedicated contributions to women’s rights found a name when in the year 1890, the movement initiated by feisty ladies like Elizabeth Cady Stanton was renamed as National American Suffrage Association, which kept the beacon of inspiration alive for the next 30 years demanding voting rights for the women.

The world has seen many insightful women who joined the various women’s empowerment movements throughout the later years of history across the world. Fuelled by the thoughts and ideals held and promoted by the forerunners from the first wave of the famous feminists movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and many other first-generation bands of thinkers of women’s rights, the famous feminists movement grew bigger and began to take up space in public discourse.

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