Home History Mott, Stanton and Anthony: The Friendship That Won Women the Right to Vote

Mott, Stanton and Anthony: The Friendship That Won Women the Right to Vote

by Enochadmin

What did the younger newlywed Elizabeth Stanton discover most fascinating on her honeymoon go to to London in 1840?

“Lucretia Mott” was Stanton’s reply.

Each girls are well-known champions of ladies’s rights in the US, organizing in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 the primary girls’s rights conference. Far much less acquainted is how their paths crossed on the World Antislavery Conference in London in June 1840 and the way that assembly, in Stanton’s recollection, put girls’s rights on the nationwide to-do record.

Mott was a whaler’s daughter and iconoclast Quaker. Stanton was a privileged, headstrong daughter of a outstanding, slave-holding lawyer in New York. In her 1885 memoir, Elizabeth Cady Stanton recalled: “It’s a irony of historical past that the world’s antislavery conference ought to stand as a landmark not for the liberty of the slave, however of girl.”

Lucretia Mott, headstrong Quaker

Within the 1840s, Lucretia Mott was an enormous title amongst reformers, famous not for girls’s rights however for her unflinching advocacy for the liberty of enslaved Blacks. She was a star recognized for impressed off-the-cuff talking that challenged listeners to obey their interior ethical compass over dogma, stand towards slavery, and boycott items made by enslaved labor. Mobs focused her for her talking, and he or she had weathered sharp criticism for her willingness to step outdoors the conventions of the Quaker religion and rely extra on conscience than on Quaker elders’ strictures.

Mott, 25 years older than Stanton, had grown up on Nantucket, the place her father believed in girls being skilled in “usefulness” and the place girls have been well-known for self-reliance, having to handle households and companies when their husbands have been on lengthy whaling voyages. Nantucket’s whaling business attracted many free Blacks, and he or she had from an early age felt sympathy for enslaved Blacks.

An undated {photograph} of Lucretia Mott. (The Library of Congress)

Unfairness rankled her, together with when she realized that feminine lecturers, regardless of receiving the identical training as male lecturers, have been paid half as a lot as males. Along with the Quaker perception in equality of women and men, she embraced the instructing of Elias Hicks, who urged Quakers to withstand blind obedience to authority, whether or not to Quaker elders or biblical scripture, and nurture a religion dedicated to faith-based deeds, not dogma.

She was small and dainty in look, and at age 47, was attending the conference along with her husband, James Mott. Each have been American delegates to the World Antislavery Conference in London.


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Elizabeth Stanton, daughter of Privilege

Twenty-five-year-old Elizabeth Stanton, newly wed on Could 1, 1840, was touring on her honeymoon along with her husband Henry Stanton, an abolitionist speaker — already a buddy of Lucretia Mott’s — and delegate to the London conference.

Not like his new spouse, Henry Stanton had had a tough begin in life. His father had deserted the household, and his mom, Susan Brewster Stanton, had boldly obtained a divorce, a rarity in these days, incurring excommunication from her church of 40 years. Susan’s instance of self-determination probably influenced Henry Stanton’s skill to navigate the 47-year marriage he would go on to get pleasure from with the vigorous Elizabeth Stanton.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1854. (The Library of Congress)

Stanton, who later included her maiden title, Cady, into her full title, had had an unusually good training for a girl in her day, helped by tutoring from a neighbor in Greek, Latin, and arithmetic. She had at all times chafed on the restrictions girls confronted, and had been stung on the age of 11, by her father’s remark, upon the demise of his solely surviving son, Eleazar, “Oh, my daughter, I want you had been a boy.”

She then vowed, “I can be a boy, and do all my brother did.”

That included having fun with a recreation of tag along with her brother-in-law earlier than boarding the ship to the London conference.

Mott and Stanton Meet in London

The American delegates sailed into London after three weeks at sea. On June 12, the conference started, and a vote was taken to exclude girls from the deliberations, spurning seven feminine delates from the US. The ladies had anticipated to be excluded, for causes associated partly to the American girls’s allegiances inside the abolitionist motion reasonably than to their intercourse alone. That they had determined to attend on precept. Throughout the conference, they have been seated behind a curtain and prevented from assembling formally on their very own.

Over the course of the June 12-23 conference, Stanton and Lucretia grew to become acquainted. On one go to to the British Museum, they sat and talked for 3 hours whereas the remainder of the group wandered the venue.

“I discovered on this new buddy a girl emancipated from all religion in man-made creeds, from all worry of his denunciations,” Stanton famous in her memoir. “Nothing was too sacred for her to query, as to its rightfulness in precept and apply. It appeared to me like assembly some being from a bigger planet, to discover a girl who dared to query the opinion of popes, kings, synods parliaments, with the identical freedom that she would criticize an editorial within the London Instances.

“‘Reality for authority, not authority for reality,’ was not solely the motto of her life, but it surely was the fastened psychological behavior wherein she most rigidly held herself .… After I confessed to  her my nice enjoyment in works of fiction, dramatic performances, and dancing, and feared that from beneath that Quaker bonnet would come some platitudes on the demoralizing affect of such frivolities, she smiled and stated, ‘I regard dancing a really innocent amusement;’ and added, ‘the Evangelical Alliance, that so readily handed a decision declaring dancing a sin for a church member, tabled a decision clearing slavery a sin for a bishop.’”

By the tip of the conference, in Stanton’s recollection, the 2 girls had vowed to prepare a conference in the US on girls’s rights. Mott remembered it in another way, crediting the plan to a dialog in 1841.

Over the following eight years, Stanton grew to become the mom of a number of youngsters and the household moved from Boston to Seneca Falls, the place her father purchased the household a rundown home. Stanton managed the renovation. In the meantime, Mott continued her talking actions.

Beginning of a Motion

In July 1848, their paths crossed once more. Mott, who was usually on the highway, was planning to attend a Quaker assembly in Waterloo, New York, a number of miles west of Seneca Falls, and spend a number of weeks along with her sister, Martha Coffin Wright, who lived there.

Across the tea desk of an area buddy, Jane Hunt, Lucretia Mott and her sister Martha, together with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann M’Clintock — all Quakers besides Stanton — mentioned the standing of ladies and determined that the time to carry a conference had come. (It is part of the Hunt household lore that Jane Hunt’s husband briefly joined in and recommended they take motion reasonably than complaining.) That very same night, an announcement of the July 19-20 conference “to debate the social, civil, and non secular situation and rights of girl” was despatched to the Seneca County Courier, a semi-weekly journal in whose June 14 situation it appeared. The discover highlighted that Lucretia Mott could be at a conference “referred to as by the Girls of Seneca County, New York.”

The organizers determined to current a press release on girls’s rights, they usually collectively scoured historic paperwork and constitutions for fashions. Lastly selecting the Declaration of Independence, they crafted a press release that borrowed generously from the doc in stating their grievances and lack of illustration.  

“We maintain these truths to be self-evident: that each one women and men are created equal; that they’re endowed by their Creator with sure inalienable rights: that amongst these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to safe these rights governments are instituted, deriving their simply powers from the consent of the ruled. Each time any type of Authorities turns into damaging of those ends, it’s the proper of those that undergo from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the establishment of a brand new authorities, laying its basis on such ideas, and organizing its powers in such kind as to them shall appear almost definitely to impact their security and happiness …. The historical past of mankind is a historical past of repeated accidents and usurpations on the a part of man in direction of girl, having in direct object the institution of an absolute tyranny over her to show this let details be submitted to a candid world.”

The assertion and resolutions, titled the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, listed the accidents: Girls weren’t allowed to vote, though their property was taxed, they usually have been thus denied illustration in authorities. Girls have been sure to obey legal guidelines they’d no position in forming. They have been excluded from faculties and all however a handful of occupations. Married girls grew to become civilly lifeless: They might not personal property or enter contracts, they usually couldn’t freely divorce. Males have been assumed to have mental superiority, whereas girls have been acknowledged for ethical superiority — but had no position in governance. In private affairs, girls have been unfairly handled, with extreme penalties for girls for actions that have been both ignored or frivolously penalized when males did them.

Stanton’s husband Henry had helped her find legal guidelines injurious to girls, and a ebook of state legal guidelines was stored readily available to seek the advice of through the conference. Stanton, daughter and spouse to legal professionals, later recalled that “if there ever was to be an improved standing of girl, its foundation have to be laid within the legislation of the land; in different phrases, that the political safeguards of the 2 sexes ought to be equivalent. This was a declare which had not, in our era, been made both by girls or for girls.“

Differing Objectives

For Stanton, voting rights have been paramount. Denied the appropriate to vote, girls have been taxed with out illustration and couldn’t consent to governance. Stanton insisted on including a requirement for the appropriate to vote within the conference resolutions.

Mott, together with many others, initially opposed together with girls’s proper to vote as too dramatic.

“Thou wilt make the conference ridiculous,” she demurred.

Stanton’s father, Decide Daniel Cady, was apparently so alarmed by the proposition that he headed for Seneca Falls to test if her “good mind had been turned.” The 2 talked for hours into the evening, and Cary advised Elizabeth that he wished she “had waited until [he] was underneath the sod earlier than [she] had carried out this silly factor.”

It was in her father’s legislation workplace, nonetheless, that Stanton had first grow to be conscious of the low standing of ladies whereas listening to his shoppers.

“In my earliest girlhood I spent a lot time in my father’s workplace,” she as soon as recalled. “There, earlier than I may perceive a lot of the speak of the older folks, I heard many unhappy complaints, made by girls, towards the injustice of the legal guidelines. We lived in a Scotch neighborhood, the place most of the males nonetheless retained the previous feudal concepts of ladies and property. Thus, at a person’s demise, he would possibly will his property to his eldest son;  and the mom could be left with nothing in her personal proper. It was commonplace, subsequently, for the mom — who had maybe introduced all of the property into the household — to be made an sad depending on the bounty of a dissipated son.”

Hasty Conference

The conference plan went ahead — so unexpectedly organized that the organizers had did not get the important thing to open the Wesleyan Chapel and Stanton’s younger nephew needed to crawl by a window to open the entrance doorways. The brief discover, and the small city location, most likely helped the conference keep away from the eye visited on related occasions, such because the mob assault in 1843 that burned to the bottom Pennsylvania Corridor — a formidable constructing purposefully constructed in 1838 as a “Temple of Free Dialogue” for housing occasions opposing slavery and “different evils” — throughout an occasion the place Lucretia Mott and others have been audio system. The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls was additionally constructed within the service of reform. Constructed in 1843, it was a hub for conferences of a faction of Methodists that usually included girls and Blacks on their boards.

Though the discover had said that solely girls could be allowed to attend, some 40 males confirmed up, and the organizers allow them to in. Roughly 300 folks attended in all. Stanton and Mott took turns talking earlier than presenting the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments and opening the assembly to dialogue.

Much more folks attended the second day and dialogue continued, together with opposition to the aim of ladies’s suffrage. Famed abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass, additionally head of the Rochester-based newspaper North Star, spoke in assist of the decision demanding girls’s proper to vote, which then handed.

After adoption of the Declaration and its resolutions, 68 girls and 32 girls, together with Douglass, signed the doc. When phrase of the conference obtained out additional afield, a torrent of criticism adopted. Stanton, nonetheless, wasn’t bothered by criticism, later saying you don’t have to state what folks already settle for.

An illustration of Frederick Douglass from 1845. (The Library of Congress)

Stanton Befriends Susan B. Anthony

Related conventions have been organized in different cities and cities. Three years later, at a girls’s rights conference in Rochester, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony, when reformer Amelia Bloomer launched the 2.

The implications of this assembly would ripple for many years. Though Mott had impressed Stanton and helped spell out the inequality girls endured, she hadn’t Stanton’s unflagging ardour for the trigger. In 1866, amid the struggle over whether or not girls and Blacks ought to each be accorded rights underneath constitutional amendments after the Civil Battle, Mott, then 73, confided, “This Equal Rights Motion is Play — however I can not enter into it! Simply listening to their speak and the studying made me ache throughout, and glad to come back away and lie on the couch right here to relaxation ….”

The determine that may maintain Stanton over the following 5 a long time was, like Mott, a Quaker. Susan B. Anthony and Stanton would stay by a permanent schism within the girls’s rights motion after the Civil Battle ended. Girls who had supported the struggle to free enslaved Blacks had eagerly anticipated new freedoms for themselves as nicely. However provisions within the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Structure, handed by Congress and ratified 1869-1870, assured voting rights to Black males, not girls.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony someday between 1880 and 1902. (The Library of Congress)

The Suffragists Cut up over the Black Vote

Stanton, Anthony, Mott and others have been livid, and the cut up within the motion over enfranchisement of Black males upfront of ladies continued for a number of a long time. Stanton and others resented electoral energy being handed to males largely much less literate and educated than themselves.

Stanton and Anthony have been so alienated that they based the Nationwide Girl Suffrage Affiliation in 1869 — splitting from the American Equal Rights Affiliation — and accepted assist for his or her marketing campaign and newspaper, Revolution, from rich entrepreneur George Francis Practice, whose brazenly racist positions alienated longstanding allies. The newspaper’s masthead said: “Justice, Not Favors: Males Their Rights and Nothing Extra — Girls Her Rights and Nothing Much less”). The rival American Girl Suffrage Affiliation centered on acquiring the vote for girls and dealing on the state degree, whereas Stanton and Anthony pursued a extra wide-ranging imaginative and prescient of equal rights for girls nationally.

Reuniting for Girls’s Rights

The cut up within the girls’s rights motion over the priorities and technique remained for many years. In 1888, nonetheless, the Nationwide Girl Suffrage Affiliation hosted the Worldwide Council of Girls, a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the landmark conference in Seneca Falls, in Washington, D.C.  Anthony, a tireless campaigner, gathered surviving signers of the Declaration — 36 girls and eight males. She needed to goad Stanton — who was then in England — into attending and writing a speech for the occasion. Representatives from overseas reported on girls’s rights, and a portrait of Lucretia Mott, who died in 1880, hung above the stage. The gathering proved a chance for the 2 American factions to resolve variations and merge. In 1889, the Nationwide American Girl Suffrage Affiliation was established. The primary NAWSA conference met in February 1890.

The Stanton-Anthony partnership lasted to the tip of their lives, even over the uproar over Stanton’s “The Girl’s Bible,” printed in segments from 1895 to 1898. On this work, Stanton and others combed by the Bible, annotating passages referring to girls and noting inconsistencies in a lawyer-like trend.

“Girls are advised that they’re indebted to the Bible for all the benefits and alternatives of life that they get pleasure from to-day,” Stanton wrote, “therefore they reverence the very ebook that above all others, incorporates essentially the most degrading concepts of intercourse.”  

“The Girl’s Bible” affronted each women and men. Anthony hadn’t participated within the effort, however she defended Stanton’s proper to publish nonetheless.

Lucretia Mott might have been midwife to the ladies’s rights motion, however Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony have been its most outstanding and unflagging warriors.

“[W]henever I noticed that stately Quaker lady coming throughout my garden, I knew that some glad convocation of the sons of Adam was to be set by the ears, by one among our appeals or resolutions,” Stanton fondly recalled. “I solid the thunderbolts, and Susan would fireplace them.”

A statue of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on the U.S. Capitol in 1929. (The Library of Congress)

Posthumous Victory

The 19th constitutional modification granting girls the appropriate to vote was handed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. The textual content learn: “The precise of residents of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of intercourse.”

The modification handed 40 years after the demise of Lucretia Mott in 1880; 18 years after the demise of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1902, and 14 years after the demise of Susan B. Anthony in 1906. The one dwelling activist courting from the early suffrage motion to rejoice the passage was 96-year previous Antoinette Brown Blackwell.

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