The Pathos of Politics (50) Elizabeth Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Elizabeth Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Wollstonecraft and Astell were the earliest feminists. They were well ahead of their time.

Consistent with liberal ideas regarding social justice and civil equality, concern over the political plight of women bloomed in the late 18th century. Feminism emerged as a protest against male domination.

It is sometimes better to be a dead man than a live woman. ~ American civil rights activist Matilda Joslyn Gage

New York was home to 2 of the early leaders in women’s rights: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Stanton helped organized the first women’s rights convention, in 1848, the same year that Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto.

Stanton and Anthony met in 1851, and became lifelong friends, working tirelessly to promote women’s suffrage.

The prolonged slavery of woman is the darkest page in human history. ~ Susan B. Anthony

When they first began campaigning for women’s rights, Stanton and Anthony were harshly ridiculed by men, accused of trying to destroy the institution of marriage. Public perception changed dramatically during their lifetimes, but neither woman lived to see the passage of the 19th Amendment of the constitution in 1920, which Stanton and Anthony wrote. The 19th Amendment explicitly denies the right to vote on the basis of sex.

The 2 women had opposed the passage of the 14th and 15th amendments, both adopted by Congress in 1866 and ratified within a few years. Stanton’s and Anthony’s opposition to the 14th and 15th amendments caused consternation among many of their colleagues: creating a schism in the women’s rights movement which was only healed 2 decades later, in 1890.

The 14th Amendment grants “equal protection of the laws” to all citizens. The 15th Amendment specifies that a citizen’s right to vote cannot be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Before their ratification, Stanton and Anthony argued that the 14th and 15th amendments did not go far enough in clearly granting women’s suffrage. But, once ratified, they argued that the amendments were sufficient to give women the right to vote.

In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown, Rochester, New York; an act local voting officials had been persuaded to allow. She was convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, authorities declined to take further action.