I’ve begun initial research on a project concerning this woman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She may be the most essential figure of the American and International Women’s Movement and arguably one of the most forgotten.
Generations of women are far more familiar with Stanton’s colleague, and dear friend, Susan Brownell Anthony, but that was by choice. While Ms Anthony made an early and abiding decision to promote women’s suffrage over any other injustice facing females in the 19th Century, Cady Stanton, a more introspective person, tended to explore, through study and thought, the profundity of patriarchal injustice.
Mrs Stanton’s analytic temperament often irritated the practical Ms Anthony, who frequently cajoled Mrs Stanton to get out there and organize.
In a sense Ms Anthony married the suffrage movement, refusing to commit civil suicide by entering into a conventional marriage. Freed from domestic demands, she crisscrossed the nation assembling one of the most massive political movements in American History. In contrast, Mrs Stanton married a man she passionately loved, raised a brood of seven, all the while cultivating an interior life; a universe of analysis that evolved, questioning standards and beliefs relegating women to a subservient role.
These differences in style and aims, though the cause of many personal disputes, also somehow worked for these two strong personalities. While Mrs Stanton examined the absurdity of patriarchal traditions, and crafted sound positions on the innate equality between the sexes, Ms Anthony tirelessly toured the country, speaking to anyone who listened on the right of women to vote.
In a real sense Mrs Stanton sojourned through the metaphysical world in a search of truth, while Ms Anthony counted the miles of track to her next speaking engagement.
Happy International Women’s Day
Gail Chumbley is the author of the two-part memoir, River of January, and River of January: Figure Eight, http://www.river-of-january.com
Also available on Kindle.