In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

By Elisabeth Griffith | Go to book overview

9
Independence
1870-79

For Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1870 ended in anger and frustration. She had declared her feminist independence in the pages of the Revolution and in the organization of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Soon she found herself harassed by conservatives, embarrassed by radicals, and resented by Anthony. Her reaction was to turn her back on her troubles and forge ahead. As she declared to Anthony: "You know when I drop anything I drop it absolutely. You could not believe what a deep gulf lies between me and the past. My life since we left Kansas is to me like a long, sad dream; the experience may have its uses but I feel the chain that bound me to that incubus is broken." 1

Fed up with infighting and intrigue, Stanton wanted nothing more to do with organizations. The discord of the past five years confirmed her decision to abandon conventions. After a trial tour in 1869, she spent the next decade as a paid lecturer. Her subject was always women's rights. She chose as her role models the abolition agents and evangelical preachers of her youth. Convinced that political action would follow public pressure, she set out to convert the country to her cause.

As much as possible, Stanton cut her ties with the past. After the Revolution was sold in May 1870, she refused to contribute articles to its successor. When acting editor Theodore Tilton asked her to be "spicey and brilliant on some pleasant topics," she would not "submit my ideas to the pruning knife of youngsters." More serious, Stanton took no responsibility for the paper's remaining debt of ten thousand dollars. She claimed that neither she nor Parker Pillsbury, the coeditor, had the resources to pay it off because they were married and had dependents. Ironically the obliga

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