Elizabeth Cady, the daughter of Daniel Cady, a lawyer and politician, was born in Johnstown, New York, 12th November, 1815. She studied law under her father, who later became a New York Supreme Court judge. During this period she became a strong advocate of women's rights.
In 1840 Elizabeth married the lawyer, Henry Bewster Stanton. The couple both became active members of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Later that year, Stanton and Lucretia Mott, travelled to London as delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention. Both women were furious when they, like the British women at the convention, were refused permission to speak at the meeting. Stanton later recalled: "We resolved to hold a convention as soon as we returned home, and form a society to advocate the rights of women."
However, it was not until 1848 that Stanton and Lucretia Mott organised the Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. Stanton's resolution that it was "the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the sacred right to the elective franchise" was passed, and this became the focus of the group's campaign over the next few years.
In 1866 Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone established the American Equal Rights Association. The following year, the organisation became active in Kansas where Negro suffrage and woman suffrage were to be decided by popular vote. However, both ideas were rejected at the polls.
In 1868 Stanton and Susan B. Anthony established the political weekly, The Revolution, and the following year the two women formed a new organisation, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). The organisation condemned the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments as blatant injustices to women. The NWSA also advocated easier divorce and an end to discrimination in employment and pay.
Another group, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), was also active in the campaign for women's rights and by the 1880s it became clear that it was not a good idea to have two rival groups campaigning for votes for women. After several years of negotiations, the AWSA and the NWSA merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stanton was elected as NAWSA first president but was replaced by Susan B. Anthony in 1892.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whose autobiography, Eighty Years and More, was published in 1898, died in New York, on 26th October, 1902.
Slavery in the United States (£1.29)