March is Women’s History Month which allows us the chance to shine light on two early figures of the Women’s Rights Movement – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a prominent figure in the women’s rights and suffrage movements, played a crucial role in creating the direction and tactics of advancing women’s rights into the 20th century. Born in 1815 in Johnstown, NY, Stanton was drawn to learning and education in all forms and the exposure to her father’s legal work provided her with a great understanding of the law.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

In 1840, Stanton married abolitionist lecturer Henry Stanton and became actively involved in the anti-slavery movement. During her honeymoon in London, she met Lucretia Mott who was attending the World Anti-Slavery Convention.

Mott was an early feminist activist and staunch opponent of slavery who dedicated her life to speaking out against racial and gender injustice. Born on January 3, 1793, on Nantucket Island, MA, she was raised in a Quaker family that emphasized the equality of all people under God. In 1811, she married James Mott. They soon became active members of the abolitionist movement.

The two women did not know each other when the convention started. Only minutes into the start of the convention the six women delegates were voted out by the men’s delegation and had to sit in a segregated area. (What irony? Segregating a group because they were different at the World Anti-Slavery Convention.)

Lucretia Mott

This encounter introduced the two women and led them to organize the first Woman’s Rights convention in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY. It was here that Stanton authored “The Declaration of Sentiments,” demanding social and legal reforms to elevate women’s status in society, including the right to vote.

In 1867, Mott and Stanton became active in Kansas where black suffrage and woman suffrage were to be decided by popular vote. They (along with other prominent women’s rights advocates) formed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA). Stanton and Mott’s lifelong dedication to women’s rights laid the foundation for significant advancements in gender equality in the United States.

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