Elizabeth Cady Stanton
(1815–1902) Elizabeth was a suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women's rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY, is often credited with initiating the first organized women's rights and women's suffrage movements in the US. Stanton was President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1890 until 1892.
Before Stanton narrowed her political focus almost exclusively to women's rights, she was an active abolitionist with her husband Henry Brewster Stanton (co-founder of the Republican Party) and cousin Gerrit Smith. Unlike many of those involved in the women's rights movement, Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights. Her concerns included women's parental and custody rights, property rights, employment and income rights, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control.
After the Civil War, Stanton's commitment to suffrage caused a schism in the women's rights movement when she, together with Susan B. Anthony, declined to support passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. She opposed giving added legal protection and voting rights to African American men while women, black and white, were denied those same rights. Her position on this issue led to the formation of two separate women's rights organizations that were finally rejoined, with Stanton as president of the joint organization, about twenty years after her break from the original women's suffrage movement.
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