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The Woman's Bible.
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[ca. 1920] (Creation)
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1 cm of textual records
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Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a suffragist, social reformer, abolitionist and women's rights activist. Born to a prominent New York family, Elizabeth learned law from her father and was educated at Johnstown Academy and later the Troy Female Seminary, although she had wanted to attend Union College like her male peers but was kept out because of her gender. In 1840 she married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton (1805-1887) removing the line "promise to obey" from her wedding vows. The pair had seven children and it is speculated that they used birth control methods to control the spacing of the births.
Stanton was friends with many prominent activists, abolitionists and writers of the day and kept social circles with some of the elite of Boston, where the family settled after their marriage, and later in Seneca Falls.
While traveling in Europe in 1840 on her honeymoon, Stanton met Lucretia Mott with whom she bonded after the two were told they were not allowed to attend the World Anti-Slavery Convention on account of their gender. Back in Seneca Falls, in 1848, Stanton, Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, Jane Hunt, and others organized the Seneca Falls Convention on July 19th and 20th. Stanton wrote and read the Declaration of Sentiments proclaiming that men and women are created equal. This declaration is credited with initiating the first organized women's suffrage movement in the United States and solidified Stanton as a major voice in the women's rights movement. In 1851 Stanton met Susan B. Anthony for whom she wrote many speeches when she was unable to travel to speak due to family obligations.
In the post-Civil War era, Stanton went against her former abolitionist leanings and lobbied against the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, arguing that expanding the number of men granted the right to vote would increase the number of voters prepared to vote against women's suffrage and that more men should not be given the right to vote without women being included. She frequently use racist language including stating that giving wealthy, refined, educated women the right to vote would help counteract the votes of men who were former slaves or immigrants and who exhibited the characteristics of pauperism and ignorance. Her stance on race lead to a split between her and many of her former abolitionist friends, as well as between her and other suffragists. The schism was so great that by 1869 the woman's suffrage movement had split into two separate groups. Stanton and Anthony founded the National Women Suffrage Association (NWSA), opposing the Fifteenth Amendment, and Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell and Julia Ward Howe founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), supporting the Fifteenth Amendment.
Increasingly, Stanton became more at odds with other suffragists as she began to advocate for more women's rights beyond suffrage, and began to speak out against what she felt were the dangers of Christianity to the women's rights movement, describing it as patriarchal and oppressive. However, in 1890 both the NWSA and the AWSA merged back into one organization, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and Stanton became the first president.
In 1892 Stanton, along with Anthony, Stone and Isabella Hooker spoke before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary on suffrage. In 1895 she published the first volume of "The Woman's Bible" which argues against Christianity, as well as all organized religion. Although it was highly criticized by many both outside and inside of the suffrage movement, it was a best seller and was reprinted twice in the year following its publication.
By the time she published the second volume of "The Woman's Bible" in 1898, Stanton was aging and was unable to attend public events. She died of heart failure at her home in 1902.
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Broadside condemning Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "The Woman's Bible" and the fight for women's suffrage.
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Purchased from Lorne Bair Rare Books, 2019.
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Created JB November 2019.