“I obstinately refused to ‘obey’ one with whom I supposed I was
entering an equal relation.”—Elizabeth Cady Stanton
November 12, 1815–October 26, 1902
Elizabeth Cady was eleven when her brother Eleazar died at the age of twenty. He was the only son in the family of eleven children to reach adulthood and her father, a lawyer, was wracked with grief.
“Oh, my daughter, I wish you were a boy!” he lamented.
“I will try to be all my brother was,” she replied.
From then on, she was determined to excel. She worked hard at Greek and mathematics; she rode horses competitively, played chess, and participated in legal debating, or what we now call moot court. And she devoured her father’s law library. While buried in a book there one day, she overheard her father talking with a client, a recently widowed lady. Enjoying no property rights, the widow had seen her late husband’s estate pass to her son, who was now treating her unkindly.