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Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the first leaders who campaigned tirelessly for women’s rights. Stanton was also an active abolitionist. Although Stanton was born into a wealthy family and had a privileged upbringing, she became aware of the need for equal rights for everyone and worked toward this goal. Stanton was good friends with Susan B. Anthony, and together, they fought for decades to secure the right to vote for women. Stanton had six between 1842 and 1859, which made it challenging for her to actively fight for women’s rights. But she managed to stay involved, often working behind the scenes to further the cause.
1840: Stanton attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England.
1852: Stanton, Anthony, and several other women founded the Women’s New York State Temperance Society.
1854: Stanton addressed the state Legislature, striving to secure reforms that would allow women to gain joint custody of their children after a divorce. Stanton also wanted women to be able to own property and engage in business transactions after a divorce.
1863: Stanton and Anthony founded the Women’s Loyal National League to work toward passage of the 13th Amendment to end slavery.
1866: Stanton petitioned Congress for universal suffrage, lobbying against the 14th and 15th amendments on the grounds that they should also include women. Other abolitionists disagreed with this position, feeling that suffrage for black men needed to be a priority.
1866: Stanton became the first female candidate for the United States House of Representatives.
1868: Stanton became a joint editor of the weekly publication Revolution.
1869: Stanton and Anthony cofounded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton became the first president of the organization.
1870: The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, outlawing disenfranchisement on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
1880: Stanton tried to vote in an election and was denied.
1881: Stanton, Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage published the History of Woman Suffrage.
1888: Stanton helped organize the first International Council of Women in Washington, D.C.
1892: Stanton spoke before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary, arguing for women’s suffrage.
1896: The National American Woman Suffrage Association disassociated itself from Stanton due to her condemnation of canon laws and her opinions about how churches restricted women’s freedoms.
1898: Stanton published Eighty Years and More: Reminiscences of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1897. Although Stanton’s health was declining, she was still passionate about the cause of women’s suffrage.
Oct. 26, 1902: Elizabeth Cady Stanton died in New York City.
Stanton stipulated that she wanted her brain donated to science after she died to try to disprove claims about men’s larger brains making them smarter than women. However, Stanton’s children did not carry out this wish after she died. She died without ever gaining the right to vote, but her crusade for human rights and women’s suffrage left behind generations of women who would take up the mantle and work to achieve her goals. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed almost 20 years after Stanton’s death, on Aug. 18, 1920, guaranteeing women in America the right to vote.
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