Recently I was reading about the remarkable Elizabeth Cady Stanton (whose journalist husband Henry co-founded the Republican party).
Born in New York on November 12, 1815, Ol' Liz was a supporter of racial and gender equality, speaking up for women on everything from access to contraception, to property ownership, to voting rights.
Liz was a good friend of Susan B. Anthony. Because of their passionate
commitment to women's causes, both refrained from supporting the 14th and 15th Amendments, arguing that, while the Amendments offered
protection to African-American men, they neglected to include women.
In 1848, Stanton wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, a gender-equal
document presented at one of the first Women's Rights conventions and signed by 100 men and women.
Predictably, not everyone was a supporter of allowing all humans to enjoy the same rights. (The very idea!) Detractors called it "the most shocking and
unnatural event ever recorded in the history of womanity."
Liz was in favor of equal rights for with regards to both race and gender -- she supported interracial marriage at a time when very few shared this view. However, she suffered from her own
prejudices: she supported the Spanish-American War and had a deep and
abiding dislike of all things Spanish.
When the 14th and 15th Amendments
were passed, she argued that their language applied to women as well, but the male-controlled government did not agree.
Though her popularity swung wildly between "influential icon" and "embarrassing zealot," she never let her other people dictate her views. She never sold out. She never gave up.
Elizabeth lectured and published widely throughout her life. She died in 1902, 18 years before women
could vote, yet still she persisted and never let her fire burn out.