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Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • [On women's complicated, impractical clothing:] Some say the Turkish costume is not graceful. Grant it. For parlor dolls, who loll on crimson velvet couches and study attitudes before tall mirrors — for those who have no part to perform in the great drama of life, for whose heads, hearts and hands there is no work to do but the drapery, all is well. ... But for us common place, every day, working characters, who wash and iron, bake and brew, carry water and fat babies up stairs and down, bring potatoes, apples and pans of milk from the cellar, run our own errands through mud or snow, shovel paths and work in the garden, why 'the drapery' is quite too much — one might as well work with a ball and chain.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Amelia Bloomer's monthly magazine, The Lily ()
  • You who have read the history of nations, from Moses down to our last election, where have you ever seen one class looking after the interests of another?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech, New York State Legislature ()
  • [The prejudice against color and against women] is produced by the same cause, and manifested very much in the same way. The Negro's skin and the woman's sex are both prima facie evidence that they were intended to be in subjection to the white Saxon man.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech, New York State Legislature ()
  • Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates, from the center to the circumference, the graduating circles of all thought and action. Love is the talisman of human weal and woe — the open sesame to every soul.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech, Tenth National Woman's Rights Convention, New York ()
  • ... where no individual in a community is denied his rights, the mass are the more perfectly protected in theirs; for whenever any class is subject to fraud or injustice, it shows that the spirit of tyranny is at work, and no one can tell where or how or when the infection will spread ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in The Liberator ()
  • To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech, Tenth National Woman's Rights Convention ()
  • A government is just only when the whole people share equally in its protection and advantages.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in The Revolution ()
  • They had souls large enough to feel the wrongs of others.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • The more complete the despotism, the more smoothly all things move on the surface.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions," The First Woman's Rights Convention (1848), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • Woman has been the great unpaid laborer of the world.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • It is impossible for one class to appreciate the wrongs of another.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • ... woman's discontent increases in exact proportion to her development.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • Though woman needs the protection of one man against his whole sex, in pioneer life, in threading her way through a lonely forest, on the highway, or in the streets of the metropolis on a dark night, she sometimes needs, too, the protection of all men against this one.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • The queens in history compare favorably with the kings.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • Womanhood is the great fact in her life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • Two pure souls fused into one by an impassioned love — friends, counselors — a mutual support and inspiration to each other amid life's struggles, must know the highest human happiness; — this is marriage; and this is the only corner-stone of an enduring home.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • No privileged order ever did see the wrongs of its own victims ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech (1867), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 2 ()
  • You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech ()
  • The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life flow no longer into our souls. Every truth we see is one to give to the world, not to keep to ourselves alone ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech, National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • ... the wrongs of society can be more deeply impressed on a large class of readers in the form of fiction than by essays, sermons, or the facts of science.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "Preface," in Helen H. Gardener, Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter? ()
  • There is a solitude which each and every one of us has always carried within. More inacccessible than the ice-cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea: the solitude of self.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities of higher education, for the full development of her faculties, forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear — is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," speech to the U.S. House Judiciary committee & farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • In youth our most bitter disappointments, our brightest hopes and ambitions, are known only to ourselves. Even our friendship and love we never fully share with another; there is something of every passion, in every situation, we conceal.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one's self-sovereignty ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • Who, I ask you, can take, dare take on himself the rights, the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • While women were tortured, drowned and burned by the thousands, scarce one wizard to a hundred was ever condemned ... The same distinction of sex appears in our own day. One code of morals for men, another for women.

  • Let us remember that all reforms are interdependent, and that whatever is done to establish one principle on a solid base, strengthens all.

  • Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving.

  • ... truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.

  • The Bible and Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman's emancipation.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Free Thought Magazine ()
  • I think all these reverend gentlemen who insist on the word 'obey' in the marriage service should be removed for a clear violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which says there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude within the United States.

  • Woman will always be dependent until she holds a purse of her own.

  • ... the religious superstitions of women perpetuate their bondage more than all other adverse influences ...

  • Thus far women have been the mere echoes of men. Our laws and constitutions, our creeds and codes, and the customs of social life are all of masculine origin. The true woman is as yet a dream of the future.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech (1888), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 3 ()
  • ... motherhood is the most important of all professions — requiring more knowledge than any other department in human affairs ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 1 ()
  • There is a great deal in a name. It often signifies much, and may involve a great principle.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1847, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • There is no such thing as a sphere for sex. Every man has a different sphere, in which he may or may not shine, and it is the same with every woman, and the same woman may have a different sphere at different times.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1848, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • The great fault of mankind is that it will not think.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1848, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Chauncy Burr ... talks well, possibly better than he thinks. But this is a common failing.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1851, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • The Church is a terrible engine of oppression, especially as concerns woman.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1852, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • To think that all in me of which my father would have felt proper pride had I been a man, is deeply mortifying to him because I am a woman.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1855, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I have been into many of the ancient cathedrals — grand, wonderful, mysterious. But I always leave them with a feeling of indignation because of the generations of human beings who have struggled in poverty to build these altars to the unknown god.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1882, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • It is in vain to look for the elevation of woman so long as she is degraded in marriage.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1853), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • With age comes the inner, the higher life. Who would be forever young, to dwell always in externals?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1853, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Men who can, when they wish to write a document, shut themselves up for days with their thoughts and their books, know little of what difficulties a woman must surmount to get off a tolerable production.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1853), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • The desire to please those we admire and respect often cripples conscience.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1860, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Woman's degradation is in man's idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1860), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Such is the nature of the marriage relation that a breach once made cannot be healed, and it is the height of folly to waste one's life in vain efforts to make a binary compound of two diverse elements. What would we think of the chemist who should sit twenty years trying to mix oil and water, and insist upon it that his happiness depended upon the result of the experiment?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1860, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Ah, beware, Susan, lest as you become 'respectable,' you become conservative.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1880), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I never saw so intelligent a man have so much trouble in getting out a connected sentence. Ever since I have known him, he has desired to have a long talk with me, but he never gets started; and yet each time he meets me with renewed zest for the outpouring. It is like getting congealed liquid from a demijohn; you know the jug is large and full, but getting the contents out is the problem.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1880, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • All who live to a good old age have a genius for sleep.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1881, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I am weary seeing our laboring classes so wretchedly housed, fed, and clothed, while thousands of dollars are wasted every year over unsightly statues. If these great men must have outdoor memorials let them be in the form of handsome blocks of buildings for the poor ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1886, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I had been invited to speak after the lunch. But I did not go to the table until the feast ended, as I never like to eat or talk before speaking.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1889, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • But so long as women are slaves, men will be knaves.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1890, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I do believe that half a dozen commonplace attorneys could so mystify and misconstrue the Ten Commandments, and so confuse Moses' surroundings on Mount Sinai, that the great law-giver, if he returned to this planet, would doubt his own identity, abjure every one of his deliverances, yea, even commend the very sins he so clearly forbade his people.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1891, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • In a word, I am always busy, which is perhaps the chief reason why I am always well.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1900, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Men as a general rule have very little reverence for trees.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1900, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Oh, the shortcomings and inconsistency of the average human being, especially when this human being is a man trying to manage women's affairs!

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1901, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • If we buy a plant of a horticulturist we ask him many questions as to its needs, whether it thrives best in sunshine or in shade, whether it needs much or little water, what degrees of heat or cold; but when we hold in our arms for the first time a being of infinite possibilities, in whose wisdom may rest the destiny of a nation, we take it for granted that the laws governing its life, health, and happiness are intuitively understood, that there is nothing new to be learned in regard to it.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • If all the church property in this country were taxed, in the same ratio poor widows are to day, we would soon roll off the national debt.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1877, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • [On women's role in the home:] Every wife, mother and housekeeper feels at present that there is some screw loose in the household situation.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • Without fear of contradiction, I can safely say that every step in progress that woman has made she has been assailed by ecclesiastics, that her most vigilant unwearied opponents have always been the clergy ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1888, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • ... religious superstitions more than all other influences put together cripple & enslave woman, but so long as women themselves do not see it & hug their chains, we have a great educational work to do ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Ann Gordon, ed., The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, vol. 5 ()
  • ... I want to say one word to the men who are present. I fear you think the 'new woman' is going to wipe you off the planet, but be not afraid. All who have mothers, sisters, wives or sweethearts will be very well looked after.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1895, in Michael Anthony Lawrence, Radicals in Their Own Time: Four Hundred Years of Struggle for Liberty and Equal Justice in America ()
  • The first step in the elevation of women under all systems of religion is to convince them that the great Spirit of the Universe is in no way responsible for any of these absurdities.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1896, in Ann Gordon, ed., The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, vol. 6 ()
  • Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • motto of newspaper founded by her and Susan B. Anthony, The Revolution ()

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, U.S. suffragist, abolitionist, women's rights activist, writer

(1815 - 1902)