Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Renowned suffragist, principal author of the Declaration of Sentiments
Once you start learning about the 19th-century suffragists in the Finger Lakes region, it begins to feel a little like a game of Six Degrees of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Elizabeth was well-connected and, as organizer of the first Seneca Falls Convention, was arguably the backbone of the movement. She was also the principal author of the Declaration of Sentiments proclaiming that all men and women are created equal. Stanton took center stage at the convention, reading this document – which included the then-controversial demand that women receive the right to vote – to the 300 women and men in attendance. Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would meet and go on to become a collective force to be reckoned with, pushing the cause closer to victory. A statue stands on what is now East Bayard Street in Seneca Falls in remembrance of the initial meeting where they were introduced by women’s rights activist Amelia Bloomer. Stanton, who died just short of her 87th birthday in 1902, had never given up on the fight for women’s suffrage. The last mark she left on the movement was a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt, urging him to “support women’s suffrage.” Eighteen years later, the 19th Amendment was passed.