When looking at the history of the USA, the several events that took place provide a number of historical figures that can be discussed. However, the highlight of these events can be said to be the suffrage and feminist movement that demanded the rights of women by giving them similar privileges after the Civil War. This period in US history was accompanied by the formation of several movements led by different people to seek the amendment of different Acts in the Constitution to ensure that it catered for every individual in the US. Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a famous historical figure who was involved in the fight for suffrage rights for women and economic rights for slaves and had a strong impact in her career as an abolitionist, suffragist and social activist.
Elizabeth Stanton was born in 1815 in Johnstown, New York to a family that supported progressiveness and the abolitionist movement. She went to Union College in New York where she studied Mathematics and languages and became a debater. Her father was a Federalist attorney who dealt with social activism and legal issues. Her background led her to develop an interest in political and social reforms. However, she initially supported women's rights in terms of employment and income rights, property rights, parental and custody rights, and birth control. She however committed to women's suffrage rights after the Civil War, during which she formed several movements (Dudden 20). She later met her husband, Henry B. Stanton, who was a staunch abolitionist, and who introduced her to politics as a female abolitionist. In 1840, she met Lucretia Mott, another female abolitionist who pushed her to seek reforms for women in the United States, seeking suffrage rights to allow them to participate in elections. This began her political career. She met Susan B. Anthony who became her political partner in suffrage movements that she led. The two were deeply involved in political radical reforms after the civil war (Dudden 40).
In 1866, Elizabeth Stanton and Susan formed the American Equal Rights Association that had both white and black women. Elizabeth agreed to liaise with men abolitionists as this was their only winning strategy (Faulkner 2). Elizabeth wanted to use this movement to seek economic independence for slaves and demand for equal rights for women (Faulkner 5). Elizabeth Cady also opposed the 15th Amendment that was gender discriminative and did not allow black women to vote (Dudden 53). She led other activists to declare the racial and ethnic stereotypes that encompassed the law, whilst publicly declaring that educated women could not be under the rule of men who could not differentiate between a monarchy and a republic, while referring to Sambo, Patrick, Hans and Yung Tung.
In 1869, Elizabeth Cady also formed the National Women Suffrage Association (NWSA) that had split from the women's movement to champion for separate rights (Dudden 78). She is remembered for having a bitter exchange with Frederick Douglas, a black man who only sought to obtain rights for black men while disregarding women as members of the black race (Sage American History N.pag.). This mainly arose from the disgust she had for the black men who failed to consider black women while fighting for their rights. Elizabeth considered black men to be inferior to black women and did not condone the fact that they had a right to vote while white women were excluded from elections as voters nor candidates.
In further developing her political career, Cady also used her writing skills to write editorials in a weekly magazine known as The Revolution each week. In the magazine, she spoke of the progress of women in seeking their suffrage rights and also used it to create awareness for the need for suffrage rights for women. After the publishing of the magazine was stopped, Elizabeth continued to speak about women suffrage rights using her books, such as History of Woman Suffrage, which had six volumes (Dudden 81). Other books include The Woman's Bible and Eighty Years and More. These books further provided insight into the abolitionists and feminist movements after the Civil war.
In 1871 Elizabeth formed the "New Departure" campaign which was solely in support of women rights. This campaign was used in later years to continue championing for women's rights since not all amendments sought by Elizabeth and her movements were made during Cady's time. She later died in 1902, four years after the death of her husband, Henry Stanton.
From the various movements that she formed, Elizabeth managed to pave the way for other women to fight for their rights upon her retirement and death. The various movements were alleys that women could use to push for other rights, in addition to voting rights and economic rights for women slaves. This resulted in several constitutional amendments that eventually allowed women to participate in elections. She is remembered for her passion in seeking different rights for women using different channels, thereby affecting social and political change.
Dudden, Faye. Fighting Chance: The Struggle over Woman Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstruction America. London: Oxford University Press. 2014. Print.
Faulkner, Carol. Women's Radical Reconstruction: The Freedmen's Aid Movement Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania. 2007. Print.
Sageamericanhistory.net. The Challenge of Freedom. Reconstruction. N.d. Web. Accessed November 29, 2017.
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