In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

By Elisabeth Griffith | Go to book overview

7
War and Scandal
1862-65

Elizabeth Cady Stanton moved to New York City in the spring of 1862. Like Boston, New York was bustling with activity and bursting with energy. Stanton was invigorated by the move and by the war spirit invading the city. As a political abolitionist, she was eager to support a war to end slavery. "The war is music to my ears," she wrote. "It is a simultaneous chorus for freedom." 1 By supporting the Union, Stanton believed feminists would earn the gratitude of both abolitionists and Republicans and be rewarded with suffrage. She did not anticipate any alternate outcome, so she dedicated herself to equal rights for Negroes and women.

Henry had been deputy collector of the Port Authority since August 1861. With Anthony's assistance, Stanton moved first to a house in Brooklyn and then into a brownstone at 75 West 45th Street. Anthony had her own room in each of the Stantons' subsequent households. With her sisters Tryphena Bayard and Harriet Eaton living nearby and many of her reform colleagues in the city on business, Mrs. Stanton established herself easily.

In a city teeming with soldiers, freed blacks, draft resisters, and displaced Southerners, the war seemed more immediate than in sleepy Seneca Falls. Battle news and casualty lists were posted outside the telegraph office, where crowds gathered daily. Even at home the military mood pervaded. Stanton reported to her cousin that the "war's spirit" had a direct influence on her "domestic system." The boys were "drilling every evening in the gymnasium," while the girls skated and played outdoors. All the children took school "in homeopathic doses." "I place the gymnasium above the meeting house," Stanton concluded. "I have great respect for saints with strong bodies." 2

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