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.
is the prominent attorney and judge Daniel Cady and my mother is Margaret
I was born the seventh child and middle daughter.
mother gave birth to eleven children- five boys and six girls- six of her children
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
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.
my father enrolled me in Emma Willard's Female Academy in Troy, New York.
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
I graduated in 1833 and returned to my parent's home, and this is when I