Throwback Thursday: Happy 200th Birthday, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pioneer of the women’s rights movement in the United States, would be 200 years old today.
She was also a temporary Bostonian.
Stanton is perhaps best known for her statements at the Seneca Falls Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. But before her historic words in “The Declaration of Sentiments,” Stanton lived in Beantown. She moved here with her husband, abolitionist lecturer and journalist Henry Brewster Stanton, and her children in 1843.
Her husband began working as a patent lawyer, and the couple spent their time connecting with some of the most well-known abolitionists of the time: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Louisa May Alcott, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Stantons were an extremely cool abolitionist/feminist duo. When they married, they took out the verse “promise to obey” from their wedding vows. Stanton later reflected “I obstinately refused to obey one with whom I supposed I was entering into an equal relation.” After their vows, the couple honeymooned in Europe, making a stop at the Anti-Slavery Convention in London. They met abolitionist Lucretia Mott at the convention, who would act as one of Stanton’s influential feminist mentors.
In 1847, the family relocated to Seneca Falls to accommodate Henry’s health. The sudden switch from cosmopolitan Boston to the small town of Seneca Falls ripped Stanton from her lively intellectual social circles. Left to her roles as a wife and mother, she became restless, and began to organize a women’s right group in her new town. Thus the Seneca Falls Convention was born.
Stanton spent the rest of her life fighting for women’s suffrage and equality, among other important social causes. Being sad about moving away from Boston never looked so good.