Brooke Stanton Biography & Facts
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American writer and activist who was a leader of the women's rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-1800s. She was the main force behind the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first convention to be called for the sole purpose of discussing women's rights, and was the primary author of its Declaration of Sentiments. Her demand for women's right to vote generated a controversy at the convention but quickly became a central tenet of the women's movement. She was also active in other social reform activities, especially abolitionism.
In 1851, she met Susan B. Anthony and formed a decades-long partnership that was crucial to the development of the women's rights movement. During the American Civil War, they established the Women's Loyal National League to campaign for the abolition of slavery, and they led it in the largest petition drive in U.S. history up to that time. They started a newspaper called The Revolution in 1868 to work for women's rights.
After the war, Stanton and Anthony were the main organizers of the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for both African Americans and women, especially the right of suffrage. When the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was introduced that would provide suffrage for black men only, they opposed it, insisting that suffrage should be extended to all African Americans and all women at the same time. Others in the movement supported the amendment, resulting in a split. During the bitter arguments that led up to the split, Stanton sometimes expressed her ideas in elitist and racially condescending language, for which her old friend Frederick Douglass reproached her.
Stanton became the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, which she and Anthony created to represent their wing of the movement. When the split was healed more than twenty years later, Stanton became the first president of the united organization, the National American Woman Suffrage Association. This was largely an honorary position; Stanton continued to work on a wide range of women's rights issues despite the organization's increasingly tight focus on women's right to vote.
Stanton was the primary author of the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage, a massive effort to record the history of the movement, focusing largely on her wing of it. She was also the primary author of The Woman's Bible, a critical examination of the Bible that is based on the premise that its attitude toward women reflects prejudice from a less civilized age.
Childhood and family background
Elizabeth Cady was born into the leading family of Johnstown, New York. Their family mansion on the town's main square was handled by as many as twelve servants. Her conservative father, Daniel Cady, was one of the richest landowners in the state. A member of the Federalist Party, he was an attorney who served one term in the U.S. Congress and became a justice in the New York Supreme Court.
Her mother, Margaret Livingston Cady, was more progressive, supporting the radical Garrisonian wing of the abolitionist movement and signing a petition for women's suffrage in 1867.Elizabeth was the seventh of eleven children, six of whom died before reaching full adulthood, including all of the boys. Her mother, exhausted by giving birth to so many children and the anguish of seeing so many of them die, became withdrawn and depressed. Tryphena, the oldest daughter, together with her husband Edward Bayard, assumed much of the responsibility for raising the younger children.In her memoir, Eighty Years & More, Stanton said there were three African American menservants in her household when she was young. Researchers have determined that one of them, Peter Teabout, was a slave and probably remained so until all enslaved people in New York state were freed on July 4, 1827. Stanton recalled him fondly, saying that she and her sisters attended the Episcopal church with Teabout and sat with him in the back of the church rather than in front with the white families.
Education and intellectual development
Stanton received a better education than most women of her era. She attended Johnstown Academy in her hometown until the age of 15. 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 she did not encounter any barriers there because of her sex.She was made sharply aware of society's low expectations for women when Eleazar, her last surviving brother, died at the age of 20 just after graduating from Union College in Schenectady, New York. Her father and mother were incapacitated by grief. The ten-year-old Stanton tried to comfort her father, saying she would try to be all her brother had been. Her father said, "Oh my daughter, I wish you were a boy!"Stanton had many educational opportunities as a young child. Their neighbor, Reverend Simon Hosack, taught her Greek and mathematics. Edward Bayard, her brother-in-law and Eleazar's former classmate at Union College, taught her philosophy and horsemanship. Her father brought her law books to study so she could participate in debates with his law clerks at the dinner table. She wanted to go to college, but no colleges at that time accepted female students. Moreover, her father initially decided she did not need further education. He eventually agreed to enroll her in the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, which was founded and run by Emma Willard.In her memoirs, Stanton said that during her student days in Troy she was greatly disturbed by a six-week religious revival conducted by Charles Grandison Finney, an evangelical preacher and central figure in the revivalist movement. His preaching, combined with the Calvinistic Presbyterianism of her childhood, terrified her with the possibility of her own damnation: "Fear of judgment seized my soul. Visions of the lost haunted my dreams. Mental anguish prostrated my health."
Stanton credited her father and brother-in-law with convincing her to disregard Finney's warnings. She said they took her on a six-week trip to Niagara Falls during which she read works of rational philosophers who restored her reason and sense of balance. Lori D. Ginzberg, one of Stanton's biographers, says there are problems with this story. For one thing, Finney did not preach for six weeks in Troy while Stanton was there. Ginzberg suspects that Stanton embellished a childhood memory to underline her belief that women harm themselves by falling under the spell of religion.
Marriage and family
As a young woman, Stanton traveled often to the home of her cousin, Gerrit Smith, who also lived in upstate New York. His views were very different from those of her conservative father. Smith was an abolitionist and a member of the "Secret Six," a group of men who.... Discover the Brooke Stanton popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Brooke Stanton books.