Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World |
Susan Brownell Anthony () was the chief organizer and strategist of the nineteenth-century movement for woman suffrage. From the time she met. While there, she met Henry Brewster Stanton, a journalist and abolitionist volunteering for the . Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Biography. PBS. 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.
Anthony's speech in Boulder, Colorado, 12 October Susan Brownell Anthony was the chief organizer and strategist of the nineteenth-century movement for woman suffrage. From the time she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton inuntil her death, Anthony worked full time to mobilize a political movement dedicated to gaining women's equality.
Her intensity and endurance made her the symbol of woman suffrage. Her father's early success as the operator of small textile mills came to an end in the financial crash of She received a Quaker education and taught school for a decade, joining the many poorly paid young women who taught in district schools and academies, before she found her vocation as a reformer.
She returned to Rochester, New York, where her family settled in the s. When she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton inshe had discovered her talent for political organization in conducting agitational tours and petition campaigns to abolish slavery and outlaw liquor.
In Stanton's vision of women's rights, Anthony found new motivation to pioneer as an organizer of women working in their own interest. In the decade after they met, when Stanton's life was limited by her seven children, Anthony was the more visible and mobile partner. She visited the Stanton household often to consult and babysit while Stanton took the opportunity to write a speech or a position paper. Then Anthony would set off again for meetings of Quakers, teachers, abolitionists, women's rights advocates, or the state legislature.
At her arraignment, Susan B. Anthony refused to deposit bail when set. Selden deposited it for her. But when learned that if sent to jail, she could challenge the proceeding under federal habeas corpus, she attempted belatedly to have bail canceled.
He directed a verdict of guilty and imposed a fine on Anthony — although when she refused to pay, he shrewdly refrained from imprisoning her and therefore exposing his ruling to federal challenge. Anthony had emerged a heroine. An idealistic reformer, she had shown herself willing to submit to the unappealing and unfamiliar conditions of a nineteenth-century jail for the sake of her convictions.
Her case had pointed up the need for a new constitutional amendment. Anthony did not live to see the consummation of her efforts to win the right to vote for women. She died at the age of 86 in She showed her strength and optimism until the end. A change was taking place in public perception of the movement.
They claimed that women would bring a purifying influence to politics and public life. 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.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: Women's Rights by John H. Martin
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. 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.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship that Changed the World
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.
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. Her stance shocked not only the women present at the Convention but also those men who had been thought to be in the forefront of the liberal movements of their day. William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Philips, both of Boston, that hub of advanced ideas at that time, turned against Elizabeth on this score.
They were to help in turning the newly established Republican Party against women's rights, a plank which many women feel has remained in its polity. In Elizabeth and Susan traveled to Kansas to speak in favor of giving the ballot to Negroes and to women in that state. They were a curious sight since women were not supposed to speak in public, but they spoke often and forcibly, and this was considered a major act of defiance by women.
In Kansas the Republican Party fought their views and saw to the defeat of the widening of enfranchisement of women and Negroes. In Britain, where the same battle was being fought, there was more hope for women's rights than in the United States.
In British women obtained the legal right to keep their own earnings instead of having them legally appropriated by their husbands. The United States was not yet this forward looking.
Later Elizabeth was to journey to England where one of her grown daughters lived for a time, and she could see the trials being endured by the women of the British women's rights movement.
She also spent some time in France where a grown son was at work. Here she saw the hopelessness of the situation for French women who were faced with the total opposition to women's rights by the Catholic Church, the former aristocracy of the right, and even by the more democratic forces in the nation. Despite the failure in Kansas and then one in California in for the right of women to vote in State elections, the two women worked together for women's rights for fifty years.
There were growing differences in their approach to life and to the questions of polity, and this can be seen in the way they addressed each other. Thus in the two women formed an organization in New York City to which women alone could belong, "The National Women's Association. In time, common sense prevailed, and the two organizations joined in Yet within the next twenty years, byonly Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho had granted women the right to vote in State elections.
Anthony went right to the top for the cause, meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt to push for women's right to vote. Roosevelt and his party turned a deaf ear to her pleas. Despite the opposition of Lucy Stone and even Horace Greeley to many of her ideas, Elizabeth brought them together in her parlor in New Jersey where the Stantons had moved due to Henry's business ties in New York City. Elizabeth had a new idea which she wished to push—a plan for a co-educational college.
Even Harvard and Columbia University had trouble with that concept in the late twentieth century, one hundred years later. A touchstone of the times can be seen in the fact that inat the Women's Suffrage Convention, some of her listeners were still shocked by Elizabeth's assertion that women should be able to vote not only in State elections but in Federal elections.
Elizabeth was correct in her own earlier estimation that she was becoming more radical with the years. What she saw as the great opponents to the rights of women were the Christian churches and Christianity itself. When one perused the Bible, it constantly made women inferior to men, and the tradition of male dominated Christian religion through the centuries only confirmed this ingrown prejudice in the Christian and Jewish religions.
Thus in in her eightieth year, Elisabeth published The Woman's Bible in which she annotated those passages in the Bible which she found objectionable and irreligious in the broadest sense.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton - HISTORY
This was a bold stance in Victorian America, but the book quickly became a best seller. In her later years Elizabeth became blind, and Susan often came to visit her in New Jersey.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Saints, Sinners and Reformers
It was at their last meeting when Elizabeth was eighty-six that Susan had asked in tears if they would meet again. Susan announced as they parted that she would return for Elizabeth's eighty-seventh birthday that November.
Elizabeth, however, died on October 26, Their friendship was symbolized at Elizabeth's funeral, for the flower-bedecked casket had atop it a picture of Susan B. Anthony, her beloved friend. The story does not end here. Inon her mother's death, Elizabeth's daughter Harriot Stanton Blatch returned from England where she had been living.