Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton - I was once called the most...

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I was once called the most dangerous woman in America because I dared to ask for the unthinkable- the right to vote. I challenged my culture's basic assumptions about men and women, and dedicated my life to the pursuit of equal rights for all women. My name is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I was born in Johnstown, New York, on the 12th of November, 1815. My father is the prominent attorney and judge Daniel Cady and my mother is Margaret Livingston Cady. I was born the seventh child and middle daughter. Although my mother gave birth to eleven children- five boys and six girls- six of her children died. Only one of my brothers survived to adulthood, and he died unexpectedly when he was twenty. At ten years old, my childhood was shadowed by my father's grief. I can still recall going into the large darkened parlor to see my brother and finding the casket and my father by his side, pale and immovable. As he took notice of me, I climbed upon his knee. He sighed and said, " Oh my daughter, I wish you were a boy!" I threw my arms around his neck and replied that I will try my hardest to be all my brother was. I was determined to be courageous, to ride horses and play chess, and study such manly subjects as Latin, Greek, mathematics, and philosophy. I devoured the books in my father's extensive law library and debated the fine points of the law with his clerks. It was while reading my father's law books that I first discovered the cruelty of the laws regarding women, and I resolved to get scissors and snip out every unfair law. But my father stopped me, explaining that only the legislature could change or remove them. This was the key moment in my career as a women's rights reformer. As I grew older, my intellectual interests and masculine activities embarrassed my father. He told me they were inappropriate in a young lady, especially the daughter of a prominent man. I was educated at the Johnstown Academy until I was 15, and was always the head of my class, even in the higher levels of mathematics and language, where I was the only girl. But when I graduated, and wanted to attend Union College- as my brother had done- my father would not allow it. It was unseemly, he said, for a woman to receive a college education, for in 1830 no American college or university admitted women. Instead, my father enrolled me in Emma Willard's Female Academy in Troy, New York. Although I learned a great deal at the academy, I objected to the principle of single sex education and felt it was artificial and unnatural. I believed knowledge had no sex. I graduated in 1833 and returned to my parent's home, and this is when I
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Elizabeth Cady Stanton - I was once called the most...

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