For Women’s History Month, A More Perfect Blog will feature profiles of influential and heroic female leaders from our middle school curriculum, Being An American: Exploring the Ideals That Unite Us. Use the profiles to start a class discussion on what makes a hero and how each of the people we describe is heroic.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for all of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence – that all people are created equal. Stanton was born in New York Stat in 1815. She received a formal education, unlike most women of her time. She did well in school, impressing her teachers and classmates with her intelligence. But as a woman, she could not attend the college of her choice.
Stanton was disturbed by women’s lower legal status. She helped organize the first women’s rights convention in the US in Seneca Falls, New York. At that convention, the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was read. This document, based on the Declaration of Independence and written by Stanton, declared the legal equality of men and women, and listed the legal rights women should have, including the right of suffrage (voting). Her work helped launch the women’s movement which eventually won women the right to vote.
Stanton knew she was fighting for something bigger than herself. She did not live to see the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Susan B. Anthony wrote when Elizabeth Cady Stanton died, “Mrs. Stanton was always a courageous woman, a leader of thought and new movements.”
PHOTO CREDIT: “Elizabeth Cady Stanton.” Digital ID: cph 3a28976. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-28195.