Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Woman's Rights Movement

ANN D. GORDON

Advocates of woman's rights in nineteenth-century America declared no new or special rights, but claimed rights that were acknowledged for men within the family and outside it in civic life. Exact legal parallels between men and women could not be drawn. The women's realization that their relationship to men was prescribed in both spheres--in the family circle and the political arena--drove woman's rights activists to explore new and multiple meanings of equality. They attacked men's arbitrary power in familiar language derived from the colonial protest against a king and in new language aimed at the patriarchal authority preserved in common law, customs, and cultural institutions.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the chief writer and intellectual of the woman's rights movement during the decade before the Civil War, when the new reform found its voice and revealed its objectives. After the war, her renown spread beyond reformers. On the national lecture circuit she commanded high fees and drew good audiences year after year. Editors sought her opinion not only about women but also about street cleaning, child rearing, and fashion. Her name became synonymous internationally with the cause of women's equality. Stanton also served as an officer of national associations representing the movement's interests, beginning with the Women's Loyal National League ( 1863-1864), rallying support to outlaw slavery; the American Equal Rights Association ( 1866-1869), advocating universal suffrage; and both the National Woman Suffrage Association ( 1869-1890) and its successor, the National American Woman Suffrage Association ( 1890-1892), pressing for federal protection of woman's right to vote. She presided over the founding meeting of the International Council of Women in 1888.

Historians usually reserve the term "woman's rights" for the antebellum phase of the nineteenth-century movement, replacing it after the war with the

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Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Catharine Beecher and Domestic Relations 1
  • Notes 16
  • Bibliography 17
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Black Abolitionism 19
  • Notes 38
  • Bibliography 40
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Woman's Rights Movement 41
  • Notes 51
  • Bibliography 53
  • Dorothea Dix and Mental Health Reform 55
  • Notes 69
  • Bibliography 71
  • Frances Willard and Temperance 73
  • Notes 82
  • Bibliography 83
  • Jane Addams and the Settlement House Movement 85
  • Notes 97
  • Bibliography 98
  • Ida Wells-Barnett and the African-American Anti-Lynching Campaign 99
  • Notes 110
  • Bibliography 111
  • Jessie Daniel Ames and the White Women's Anti- Lynching Campaign 113
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 123
  • Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement 125
  • Notes 136
  • Bibliography 137
  • Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement 139
  • Notes 151
  • Bibliography 152
  • Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women 153
  • Notes 164
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 167
  • About the Editors and Contributors 171
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