In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated the call for a woman's rights meeting at Seneca Falls, New York. The members of this historic convention issued the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, among them the demand for woman suffrage. Historian Ann D. Gordon writes that, in the early 1860s, Stanton "gave new direction to the women's rights movement by making it a vehicle for expressing women's interest in politics." In 1866, while living in New York, Stanton offered herself as an Independent candidate for Congress in the Eighth Congressional District. The other candidates were Democrat James Brooks, the winner, and Republican Le Grand B. Cannon.She did this, according to two of her children, "in order to impress the public with the fact that constitutionally women had a right to run for office." (Stanton and Blatch, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, II, 114-15.) She received only two dozen votes, out of 12,000 cast, but provoked wide discussion on the question of women's rights. Stanton later said that she "regrets only that she did not...procure the photographs of her two dozen unknown friends." (HWS, II, 181) She collaborated with Susan B. Anthony for many decades. Stanton was associated with the faction of the suffrage movement that built and sustained the National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton was the daughter of activists: Judge Daniel Cady, a lawyer, served as a state assemblyman and member of Congress. Margaret Livingston Cadywas a reformer, writer, and co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton was educated at home and at noted educator Emma Willard's seminary in Troy, New York. She learned about law and issues of injustice from her father and his law books.
More than one hundred years after her death, Elizabeth Cady Stanton still stands—along with her close friend Susan B. Anthony—as the major icon of the struggle for women’s suffrage. In spite of this celebrity, Stanton’s intellectual contributions have been largely overshadowed by the focus on her political activities, and she is yet to be recognized as one of the major thinkers of the nineteenth century.
Here, at long last, is a single volume exploring and presenting Stanton’s thoughtful, original, lifelong inquiries into the nature, origins, range, and solutions of women’s subordination. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Feminist as Thinker reintroduces, contextualizes, and critiques Stanton’s numerous contributions to modern thought. It juxtaposes a selection of Stanton’s own writings, many of them previously unavailable, with eight original essays by prominent historians and social theorists interrogating Stanton’s views on such pressing social issues as religion, marriage, race, the self and community, and her place among leading nineteenth century feminist thinkers. Taken together, these essays and documents reveal the different facets, enduring insights, and fascinating contradictions of the work of one of the great thinkers of the feminist tradition.
Contributors: Barbara Caine, Richard Cándida Smith, Ellen Carol DuBois, Ann D. Gordon, Vivian Gornick, Kathi Kern, Michele Mitchell, and Christine Stansell.
“The selected documents give a taste of Stanton’s often-contradictory ideas and successfully demonstrate how they evolved over time under the influence of contemporary intellectual movement. This work provides a solid basis for deeper investigations into Stanton’s role as a nineteenth-century feminist thinker.”
“The editors are, therefore, successful in their aim: like her or not, Stanton’s ideas should be studied by any serious feminist, historian or student of democracy at large.”
“It is high time to respect Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a founding thinker and actor in the shaping of American society, politics, and ideas. This fascinating book enriches our understanding by giving us her own most eloquent words accompanied by the wise evaluations of some of our leading historians and writers.”
—Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship
“I picked up this book wondering what, if anything, even these formidable scholars could tell me about Elizabeth Cady Stanton that I hadn't already read. I put it down in awe—;with a new appreciation of Stanton’s brilliance, originality, and complexity as the intellectual genius behind the first wave of feminism. Her 19th century vision resonates for everyone in 21st century America.”
—Lynn Sherr, ABC News