Elevate Difference

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life

Anyone who has ever been interested in the history of feminism knows of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. As author Lori D. Ginzberg notes, much of the focus has shifted towards Anthony, leaving few to know about Stanton. However, it was Stanton who took center stage during their time through her writings and raising controversy.

As a child, Stanton experienced the inequality between men and women, personified in a comment by her father: “If only you were a boy.” Judge Daniel Cady was a traditionalist; however, he recognized his young daughter's affinity to law (thus his disappointment that she was not a man). Stanton was not one to be confined by gender: she studied her father's law books and held intense discussions with law students.

Stanton first became interested in feminism through her husband, Henry Brewster Stanton, an outspoken and prominent abolitionist. During a conference in London, Elizabeth Cady Stanton met other female abolitionists who also believed in the fight for gender equality. However, Stanton and her husband would never see eye to eye on this issue. As she overshadowed him, their relationship became more distant. Even with seven children, Stanton raised hell and shook up society's notion about women's rights.

Ginzberg provides an excellent biography of Stanton, listing both the positive and negative aspects of Stanton's life. In areas where information was sparse (due to Stanton's children “editing” their mother's correspondences), Ginzberg did an excellent job filling in the gaps. As for Stanton and Anthony's famous partnership, Ginzberg covers their highs and lows, as well as many of difficulties the two faced in their journey together. As an additional bonus, photos throughout Stanton's life are put in a special section. Not only is this a comprehensive biography, but it truly captures all of Stanton's little quirks.

Written by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch, December 27th 2009