Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Occupation: Women’s rights activist and abolitionist

Born: November 12, 1815 in Johnstown, New York

Died: October 26, 1902 in New York City, New York Best known for: A leader in the fight for women’s suffrage


Where did Elizabeth Cady Stanton grow up?

Elizabeth Cady was born in Johnstown, New York on November 12, 1815. She had 10 brothers and sisters, however, many of them died during childhood. Only Elizabeth and four of her sisters lived well into adulthood. Her last brother, Eleazar, died when he was 20 years old leaving her mother depressed and her father wishing that Elizabeth was a boy.

Not Fair for Women

Growing up Elizabeth was exposed to the law through her father Daniel. He was a lawyer who also served as a judge and a U.S. Congressman. She learned that the law was not the same for men and women. She learned that only men could vote and that women had few rights under the law. She didn’t think this was fair. She thought she was as good as any boy and should be given the same opportunities.

Going to School

When Elizabeth reached school age she wanted to go to school to learn. Not many women went to school in those days, but her father agreed to send her to school. At school Elizabeth was an excellent student. She won awards and proved that she could do as well or better than most of the boys.

After high school, Elizabeth wanted to go to college. She quickly learned that girls were not allowed into the major universities. She ended up going to a college for girls where she was able to continue her studies.

Abolitionist and Human Rights

Elizabeth began to believe strongly in the rights of all individuals regardless of race or gender. She fell in love with an abolitionist (a person against slavery) named Henry Stanton. They married in 1840. Over the course of their marriage they would have seven children.

Women’s Rights Movement

While attending anti-slavery conventions, Elizabeth also met women who felt as strongly about women’s rights as she did, women such as Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, and Susan B. Anthony. She believed that women could do little to change their position in life unless they could change the laws. In order to change the laws, they needed the right to vote. The right for women to vote is called women’s suffrage. Elizabeth began to work and campaign for women’s suffrage. She would spend the rest of her life working on this important cause.

Declaration of Sentiments

In 1850, Elizabeth and several other women held the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Elizabeth presented an important document called the Declaration of Sentiments. This document was modeled after the Declaration of Independence and said that women and men were created equal and should be treated the same under the law. Many people spoke at the event including the famous abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass.

National Woman Suffrage Association

In 1869, Elizabeth and her good friend Susan B. Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association. They believed strongly that women should be given the right to vote. They thought that the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave black men the right to vote, should also include the right for women to vote. Other people thought that if women were included on the amendment it wouldn’t pass. Much to her disappointment, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, it did not include women.


Over the next 30 years of her life, Elizabeth worked hard to improve the rights of women. Although she didn’t live long enough to see women gain the right to vote with the Nineteenth Amendment, it was her hard work that paved the way.

Interesting Facts about Elizabeth Cady Stanton

A battleship used during World War II was named after Stanton called the USS Elizabeth C. Stanton. Her house in Seneca Falls was declared a National Historic Landmark. She spoke of women’s rights before the U.S. Congress giving a famous speech called The Solitude of Self. She once said that “the history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality.”