Susan B. Anthony House :: Her Story
“It is fifty-one years since we first met, and we have been busy through every one of them, stirring up the world to recognize the rights of women,” Susan B. Penny Colman's new book, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World, tells a compelling story for readers, and. Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, in Adams, Massachusetts. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join.
The choice of England for their honeymoon came about since Henry was a delegate in the World Anti-Slavery convention in London. Anti-slavery as a cause may have been a radical movement inbut in London the men in charge of and attending the convention were conservative in many of their other attitudes. No woman was permitted to be seated with the delegates, nor would a woman be permitted to speak at the sessions. Women were relegated to a balcony where they could see but not be seen nor heard by the delegates.
Elizabeth was incensed at this slight, as was William Lloyd Garrison, who, in protest, moved to sit with the women in their segregated area. This leading proponent of the anti-slavery cause was to be a great disappointment to Elizabeth in time, for he refused in the years after the Civil War to back a woman's right to vote. One of the women seated near Elizabeth in the balcony at the convention was the noted liberal radical in those days Quaker, Lucretia Mott, twenty years the senior of Elizabeth.
Lucretia Coffin Mott was one of the foremost active and successful reformers and lecturers of the nineteenth century, a time when women did not speak publicly. A devout Quaker, Lucretia attributed to divine intervention her courage in the face of constant rebuffs she suffered due to her advanced social stands and her eloquence in speaking.
Lucretia, as a Quaker, believed that the Divine was in every human being, and that everyone was therefore equal, regardless of race, sex, or class. This was not a position acceptable to the society of her day, to Christian churches—or even to many conservative Quakers. Lucretia Coffin was born on Nantucket Island, and she began school at four years of age.
She was later to study as a prize student in the Quaker "Nine Partners" boarding school in Dutchess County in New York, and she was so capable a student that she was invited to join the faculty upon her graduation. Lucretia met another young teacher at the school, James Mott, and they were married in in Philadelphia in an unusual marriage for the time. It was to be a marriage of equals in which the wife was not subordinate to her husband.
James and Lucretia Mott both took leadership in their Quaker meeting, and by Lucretia was chosen as a major figure within the meeting, despite her youth. She soon became noted throughout the northeast for her lectures on religious and social issues, and this was to lead to a break with the main Quaker movement. The Quaker meetings at this time were often split over the issue of slavery, some members feeling that it was not a topic to be of concern to religious organizations.
In the more liberal Quakers, under the leadership of Elias Hicks of Long Island, had broken with the orthodox Quakers over the issue of slavery.
The Motts joined the Hicksite group, and as a result both were thereby expelled from the major Quaker denomination. Unabashed, in Lucretia met with the local abolitionist women, black and white, to form the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. The white community was mortified not only by a woman's group dedicated to social problems, but by its inter-racial nature.
This in no way stopped Lucretia in her work. Lucretia and seven other women representing female anti-slavery societies attended the London Anti-Slavery Convention of —and they were excluded from participation in the meeting simply because they were female.
Upset with the proceedings of this convention which were so discriminatory, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott left the convention and took long walks in London. They therefore come to know and sympathize with each other in their advanced views. Elizabeth had immediately felt a kinship with Lucretia upon their meeting, and the Quaker attitudes of Lucretia and other members of the Society of Friends no doubt affected Elizabeth's religious outlook.
It was an outlook which was to grow more liberal with the years and to move her away from the standard Christianity of her day. Now, during their London walks, Elizabeth's conscience was challenged by this affront to women. The couple thereafter moved to Boston where the Stantons became active in the reform movements of the time.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton - HISTORY
Henry's health, however, was to force them to leave the metropolis for the far more tranquil, small town of Seneca Falls in New York. By the couple were settled in Seneca Falls in a house bought for them by Judge Cady, and here they began to raise the three children they already had. Elizabeth eventually gave birth to five boys and two girls.
Elizabeth scandalized her Seneca Falls neighbors by some of her activities—including the raising of the flag in front of their house each time a new baby was born. Life was not always easy for Elizabeth since Henry had to travel a great deal on behalf of the Liberty Party and the Anti-Slavery Movement. The Stantons had come to a tiny town far from the more cosmopolitan Boston with its intellectual liveliness which Elizabeth had greatly enjoyed.
Stanton/Anthony Friendship | The Susan B. Anthony Center
Here in Seneca Falls she was confined with her growing family to a house outside of a village which was just beginning to see the development of mills and an industrial working-class society. Elizabeth had her own ideas as to how children should be raised, and she would have none of the traditional nonsense of swaddling newborns.
Her children were not to be bound but were to be free to kick and move as free individuals, for they were individuals, even if only babies. They were a handful as they grew. One time Elizabeth found the youngest child, eighteen-months-old Theodore, floating in the river, his older brothers having tied corks to him on the theory that he would be able to float in the water.
Another time she found the baby astride the crest of the roof where his brothers had placed him. The Stantons had only been in Seneca Falls a year when Elizabeth received an invitation to tea at the home of Jane Hunt, a member of a Quaker family in the nearby town of Waterloo.
The latter was here for an annual session of the local Quaker meeting. A discussion of the problems women faced due to the unequal laws and discriminatory policies by church, society, and government followed.
Before the tea party had ended, Elizabeth was quick to remind Lucretia Mott of the sentiment they had arrived at eight years previously in London — to have a women's convention in America.
Out of the discussion which ensued at that tea party came the decision to hold just such a women's convention and to issue a "Women's Declaration of Independence.
Elizabeth, of course, would write that declaration. The Hunts and M'Clintocks were active in the more radical Hicksite Quaker meetings in the Waterloo area, and it was that branch of Quakerism which was adamant in its stance that women were equal to men in all spiritual and mental qualities. In time, even the Hicksite branch of Quakerism seemed too tame to these two families, and they soon formed the ultra-liberal Congregational or Progressive Friends. Their emphasis was on practical reformation rather than the unity of doctrine or belief.
For them, the improving and elevating of the human condition was much more important than quibbling over theological or liturgical details which were usually no more than nonsensical.
At the M'Clintock house, the five women went over Elizabeth's "Declaration of Sentiments" to reach agreement as to its final form. It was radical in its intent since it demanded equal rights for women in education, property holding, voting, and access to better job opportunities and the ministry. On July 14,the women published an announcement in the Seneca Falls Courier announcing a women's convention to be held at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Seneca Falls on July, less than one week away.
The Wesleyan Methodists, as previously noted, were liberal enough in their outlook to open their hall to dissenting voices without charge.
This was a stand the more generally conservative churches eschewed; freedom of thought, particularly for women, was not a tenet of Christian churches, and their negation of such women's actions was a doctrine they could base on the writings of Paul in the New Testament. Lucretia Mott's husband agreed to chair the meeting since the idea of a woman chairing a meeting simply was not acceptable to the public at the time. Thirty-two year old Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the prime speaker who presented a "Declaration of Rights and Sentiments.
Two other speakers at the convention were Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglas, and they backed Elizabeth in her sentiments as expressed in this Declaration. That Frederick Douglas, who is best known as one of the more important abolitionist lecturers, was involved with women's rights may come as a surprise.
Elizabeth and Frederick had first met in Boston inand they continued to meet and exchange ideas over the next half a century. In preparation for the Seneca Falls Convention, Frederic and Elizabeth met to discuss the issues to be addressed, and his advice helped her to shape her demand in the "Declaration of Sentiments" for the right of women to be able to vote. The highly controversial suffrage proposal passed by a slim majority, due to Elizabeth's efforts and Frederick's support.
It was he who not only attended the convention from his Rochester home, but it was he who seconded her motion. Then he gave an impassioned speech to back Elizabeth's assertion that the power to choose the rulers and to make laws was the right by which all other rights could be secured.
Of the three hundred present at the Convention, primarily Quakers, only sixty-eight women and thirty men signed the "Declaration of Sentiments. This forced the women's rights supporters to turn to the Democratic Party for support for their cause since there was no hope for their cause within the Republican Party which was courting the male black vote. Once the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed, Douglas returned to the cause of women's rights, always referring to the start of the cause at the Seneca Falls Convention and giving full credit to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott for their pioneering and daring work.
One of those present at the convention was twenty-eight year old Susan B. Anthony who was most impressed by the provocative and forthright young woman who had read the "Declaration. The goal they desired would not be achieved until a number of years after their deaths, but they began the battle which had to be fought, despite the disdain of the political forces of the nation.
It is interesting to note that after the new Republican Party, which had helped to abolish slavery, continued to turn a deaf ear to all attempts to abolish women's serfdom before the law, particularly the demand of women for the right to vote.
Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton complemented each other in their different ways, Elizabeth was the verbal, literary force behind the new demands by women for their rights before the law. In fact, she wrote many of the public speeches which Susan B. Anthony was to give in the years ahead.
Anthony, on the other hand, had the physical drive and determination which led her to appear in lecture halls across the breadth and depth of the nation to speak on behalf of women's rights. She had a single-mindedness of purpose which a single woman, unencumbered by children and a family, could give to the cause. In many ways, Susan B. Anthony was ultimately a far more conservative individual than Elizabeth, which Elizabeth was later to recognize. Elizabeth later remarked that Susan seemed to grow more conservative with the years, whereas Elizabeth recognized her own growing radicalness.
The two always remained close friends, although they departed on such elements as Elizabeth's condemnation of the church and Christianity for its almost two millennia of seeing women as a lower order of being than men.
Elizabeth's skepticism as to the claims of Christian theology can best be seen in "The Woman's Bible" which she edited, refuting the invalid claims of the Bible as to women's status in the world. This was an area in which Susan could not follow Elizabeth. Perhaps the difference between the two women can best be seen in their last meeting in their old age.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World
It was obvious that the widowed Elizabeth did not have much more time to live, and Susan grew quite tearful at their parting. In her ever realistic, and often slyly, dry manner, Elizabeth answered, ""Oh, yes. If not here, then in the hereafter, if there is one. And if there isn't, we shall never know it. It consisted of a pair of trousers with a short skirt over it. Instead of reaching to the floor, the skirt stopped midway between the ankles and the knees.
The ease with which Libby could carry one of the children upstairs in one arm with an oil lamp in her free hand, without having to fuss with the holding up of her skirt on the steps at the same time, was a revelation of how comfortable and practical a woman's garb could be.
Elizabeth immediately adopted this new dress approach, despite the jeers by men and boys and the disapproval of her neighbors in town. In time she stopped dressing in the new style on the lecture platform when she found that her garb drew more attention than what she said for women's rights.
The new mode was taken up by another progressive woman in Seneca Falls, Amelia Bloomer, and the garb became known by Amelia's last name thereafter, whereas it was Libby Smith Miller who should rightly be given the credit for what became known as the "Bloomer style" of dress.
This was not the end to Elizabeth Stanton's experimentation with modern living. She even had her hair "bobbed," cut short, so as not to have to fuss with long hair, despite the Biblical injunction against women's short hair by St.
This new hair style would not become common among women for another seventy years. Now that Elizabeth and Susan Anthony had met, they began to collaborate on ideas as to how to forward the demand for women's rights. Susan made frequent trips from her home in Rochester to Seneca Falls, and she almost became a part of the Stanton family in helping with the Stanton children. Susan constantly pushed Elizabeth to take a more active part in the work for women's rights, not an easy task for a woman raising a family of seven children.
At first Elizabeth confined most of her efforts into writing the speeches for Susan, and this enabled Susan to become the outgoing and determined heckler of the men's world in the cause of women's rights. In Susan finally convinced Elizabeth of the need for her to speak on behalf of the cause before a joint judiciary committee of the New York State legislature. This was an unheard of event, for a woman never appeared before the legislature to address these elected officials—men elected solely by men.
Elizabeth appeared bearing a petition signed by 6, individuals, petitioning the State legislature for the right of women to control their own earnings, the guardianship of their children in the event of a divorce, and the right to vote. All these rights were being denied them under State law and religious teachings, Elizabeth also pointed out that the laws taxed an unmarried woman's earnings while denying her representation in government, a case of "no taxation without representation"—a statement which had been the rallying cry heard in years past when Americans had risen in revolt against British legislation over the colonies.
She also indicated that the income of slaves could not be taxed, while the income of a woman was taxed. Anthony had 50, copies of Elizabeth's speech printed.
The Legislature, however, still refused to act. Obviously Susan and Elizabeth were still far in advance of public opinion and public realities. Unrepentant at the rebuffs being suffered for her ideas, later in Elizabeth decided to run for Congress since the United States Constitution did not specify that only men could run.
She knew she had no chance of winning, but the point was to keep the issue of women's rights to the fore. Elizabeth did speak at the Women's Rights Convention in the s, and she shocked even this then considered radical group since she demanded the right for a woman to divorce her husband when a marriage was no longer tenable.
She re-defined marriage as a civil contract, subject to the restraints and privileges of all other contracts. She thus demoted marriage from a sacred, religious act of the church to a civil function by raising both marriage and divorce to a civil, contractual right. This view was to become law eventually, but it was still too radical for its own day. Elizabeth, by her declaration, made plain that she had transcended the personalized, pietistic morality of women's married life.
Susan B. Anthony House
She thus separated marriage and the family from the legal and spiritual control of the church and religion—and from man's inalienable control of wives as chattel beyond the protection of the law. Five of her siblings died in early childhood or infancy. A sixth sibling, her older brother Eleazar, died at age 20 just before his graduation from Union College in Schenectady, New York.
Only Elizabeth Cady and four sisters lived well into adulthood and old age.
Later in life, Elizabeth named her two daughters after two of her sisters, Margaret and Harriot. Even as a young girl, she enjoyed reading her father's law books and debating legal issues with his law clerks. It was this early exposure to law that, in part, caused Stanton to realize how disproportionately the law favored men over women, particularly married women.
Her realization that married women had virtually no property, income, employment, or even custody rights over their own children, helped set her course toward changing these inequities.
Emotionally devastated by the loss of so many children, Margaret Cady fell into a depression, which kept her from being fully involved in the lives of her surviving children and left a maternal void in Stanton's childhood. Senator from Wilmington, Delaware was, at the time of his engagement and marriage to Tryphena, an apprentice in Daniel Cady's law office.
He was instrumental in nurturing Stanton's growing understanding of the explicit and implicit gender hierarchies within the legal system. Peter Teabout, a slave in the Cady household who was later freed in Johnstown,  took care of Stanton and her sister Margaret.
Among other things, she reminisces about the pleasure she took in attending the Episcopal church with Teabout, where she and her sisters enjoyed sitting with him in the back of the church rather than alone in front with the white families of the congregation. She attended Johnstown Academy in her home town until the age of The only girl in its advanced classes in mathematics and languages, she won second prize in the school's Greek competition and became a skilled debater.
She enjoyed her years at the school and said that she did not encounter any barriers there because of her sex. Simon Hosack, with strongly encouraging her intellectual development and academic abilities at a time when she felt these were undervalued by her father. Writing of her brother Eleazar's death inStanton remembers trying to comfort her father, saying that she would try to be all her brother had been.
At the time, her father's response devastated Stanton: Hosack went on to teach Stanton Greek, encouraged her to read widely, and ultimately bequeathed to her his own Greek lexicon along with other books.
His confirmation of her intellectual abilities strengthened Stanton's confidence and self-esteem. Stanton watched with dismay as the young men graduating with her, many of whom she had surpassed academically, went on to Union College, as her older brother, Eleazar, had done previously.
Inthe school was renamed the Emma Willard School in honor of its founder, and Stanton, spurred by her respect for Willard and despite her growing infirmities, was a keynote speaker at this event. Early during her student days in Troy, Stanton remembers being strongly influenced by Charles Grandison Finneyan evangelical preacher and central figure in the revivalist movement.
His influence, combined with the Calvinistic Presbyterianism of her childhood, caused her great unease. After hearing Finney speak, Stanton became terrified at the possibility of her own damnation: Visions of the lost haunted my dreams. Mental anguish prostrated my health. Dethronement of my reason was apprehended by my friends.
She further credits their taking her on a rejuvenating trip to Niagara Falls with restoring her reason and sense of balance. Despite Daniel Cady's reservations, the couple was married inwith Elizabeth Cady requesting of the minister that the phrase "promise to obey" be removed from the wedding vows.
Their seventh and last child, Robert, was an unplanned baby born in when Elizabeth Cady Stanton was forty-four. Henry Stanton studied law under his father-in-law untilwhen the Stantons moved to Chelsea  BostonMassachusetts, where Henry joined a law firm. While living in Boston, Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed the social, political, and intellectual stimulation that came with a constant round of abolitionist gatherings and meetings. Cady Stanton, but she refused to be addressed as Mrs. Asserting that women were individual persons, she stated that, "the custom of calling women Mrs.
John This and Mrs. Tom That and colored men Sambo and Zip Coonis founded on the principle that white men are lords of all. Henry Stanton, like Daniel Cady, disagreed with the notion of female suffrage. Friends of the couple found them very similar in temperament and ambition, but quite dissimilar in their views on certain issues, including women's rights.
Inabolitionist reformer Sarah Grimke counseled Elizabeth in a letter: Their housepurchased for them by Daniel Cady, was located some distance from town. Anthony, and writing Anthony's speeches became one of Stanton's primary modes of involvement in the movement from afar.
Additionally, Stanton often wrote Anthony letters about the difficulties of balancing domestic and public life, especially in a prejudiced society. By this time, she was firmly committed to the nascent women's rights movement and was ready to engage in organized activism. The two women became allies when the male delegates attending the convention voted that women should be denied participation in the proceedings, even if they, like Mott, had been nominated to serve as official delegates of their respective abolitionist societies.
After considerable debate, the women were required to sit in a roped-off section hidden from the view of the men in attendance.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815—1902)
- Saints, Sinners and Reformers
They were soon joined by the prominent abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrisonwho arrived after the vote had been taken and, in protest of the outcome, refused his seat, electing instead to sit with the women. Byher early life experiences, together with the experience in London and her initially debilitating experience as a housewife in Seneca Falls, galvanized Stanton. The general discontent I felt with woman's portion as wife, housekeeper, physician, and spiritual guide, the chaotic conditions into which everything fell without her constant supervision, and the wearied, anxious look of the majority of women, impressed me with a strong feeling that some active measures should be taken to remedy the wrongs of society in general, and of women in particular.
My experience at the World Anti-slavery Convention, all I had read of the legal status of women, and the oppression I saw everywhere, together swept across my soul, intensified now by many personal experiences. It seemed as if all the elements had conspired to impel me to some onward step. I could not see what to do or where to begin—my only thought was a public meeting for protest and discussion.
Over people attended. Stanton drafted a Declaration of Sentimentswhich she read at the convention. Modeled on the United States Declaration of IndependenceStanton's declaration proclaimed that men and women are created equal. She proposed, among other things, a then-controversial resolution demanding voting rights for women.
The final resolutions, including female suffrage, were passed, in no small measure, because of the support of Frederick Douglass, who attended and informally spoke at the convention. Anthony Soon after the convention, Stanton was invited to speak at the second women's rights convention, the Rochester Convention ofin Rochester, New Yorksolidifying her role as an activist and reformer. Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis invited her to speak at the first National Women's Rights Convention inbut because of pregnancy, Stanton chose instead to lend her name to the list of sponsors and send a speech to be read in her stead.
Anthony on a street in Seneca Falls by Amelia Bloomera feminist and mutual acquaintance who had not signed the Declaration of Sentiments and subsequent resolutions despite her attendance at the Seneca Falls convention. Together, they were instrumental in founding the short-lived Woman's State Temperance Society — During her presidency of the organization, Stanton scandalized many supporters by suggesting that drunkenness be made sufficient cause for divorce.
The two movements had common interests, with women's suffrage filling the role of cause and prohibition becoming the effect.