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Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

#womenshistoryProfilesMarch 1, 2022

When Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met in 1851 they began a friendship and collaboration that lasted more than 50 years as leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. 

Stanton was one of the organizers of the first woman’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, where she drafted the Declaration of Sentiments, which called for women’s equality and suffrage and rights to property and education. Modeled after the Declaration of Independence, the document read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal….” 

Anthony didn’t attend the Seneca Falls convention, but after meeting Stanton at an anti-slavery meeting a few years later, she became one of the movement’s indispensable leaders. 

Together they made an effective team. Stanton was the thinker and writer, who largely led from her home in New York, where she and her husband, abolitionist lecturer Henry Stanton, were raising seven children. Anthony, who never married, was free to travel widely, appearing before Congress and delivering Stanton-penned speeches at conventions and lecture halls throughout the country.  

They advocated not only for women’s rights, but for the abolition of slavery. Both were members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and in 1863 they formed the Woman’s National Loyal League, which rallied support and gathered 400,000 signatures on a petition for an amendment to the Constitution to end slavery — the largest petition in the United States up to that time.

Anthony and Stanton also published a women’s rights newspaper called The Revolution; formed Working Women’s Associations for women in the publishing and garment trades; organized the first Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington D.C. in 1869; and, with Matilda Joslin Gage, published a six-volume History of Women Suffrage.

Anthony even tried her hand at civil disobedience. In 1872, she was arrested for voting, put on trial, found guilty, and fined $100 — which she refused to pay. 

Neither Anthony or Stanton would live long enough to see women win the right to vote. Stanton died in 1902 and Anthony died four years later. Though several states and territories, including California, granted women the right to vote sooner,  Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment — also known as the Susan B. Anthony amendment — in 1920.

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