Elizabeth Cady Stanton has become an empty name; Susan B. Anthony’s junior partner in the Battle for Suffrage. But in their lifetimes, Stanton was universally known and internationally respected.
The scope and clarity of her vision laid bare the unequal treatment of women, her knowledge of the law influenced and shaped corrective legislation, and the eloquence of her words gave voice to women who did not know they could speak.
At the same time, when she felt the movement had been betrayed in the fight for Black suffrage – Black male suffrage, that is, she fought dirty and without apology, undercutting her own message of equality for all.
Maybe we tolerate that in men, but we really don’t like it from the ladies.
Solitude of Self explores the life of this extraordinary woman; not an icon of self-sacrifice, but an ego-driven powerhouse, who was determined to express her potential, though the world opposed her at every turn. Stanton was a mother of seven healthy, growing children; founder of the Suffrage movement and, with Anthony, one of its unquestioned leaders; wife to a once-dazzling Abolitionist, whose activism kept him on the road for months at a time; and friend and comrade to Frederick Douglass, with whom she formed a powerful alliance for Universal Suffrage. Stanton helped to create the fundamental conditions from which today’s women benefit, so we should know her. And we should also know why we don’t. Charming, imperious, and just a little too radical for the room, Elizabeth Cady Stanton pissed off almost as many people as she inspired.
We may have begrudging respect for our flawed heroes, but a big, messy, flawed heroine is... I don’t know. Do we have any?