November 12th: Auguste Rodin & Elizabeth Cady Stanton

I’m surprised to be back again so soon, but Doodles have done it again! They’ve just posted a logo in celebration of the birth of sculptor Auguste Rodin.

I had a lot of fabulous options of women (born on this day) to celebrate, but apparently none of them were apparent to the Google Doodles team. Perhaps fittingly, I settled upon a woman whose work allowed me to be working on this project, and to enjoy many of the other benefits of feminism: Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, photographed circa 1880.

Cady Stanton, born November 12, 1815, was an activist and prolific writer who played critical roles in the American women’s rights and abolition movements of the 19th century. As a young woman, Cady Stanton had the advantage of an incredibly formal education, rare in her time, and with that the opportunity to learn about world views other than that of her parents. Her father owned slaves, but Elizabeth became active in the abolitionist movement early on. She might also have been the first woman to refuse to say “promise to . . . obey” in her wedding vows. She also used both Cady (her parents’ name) and Stanton (her husband’s name) together as her surname, and in particular refused to be called “Mrs. Henry Stanton.”

Cady Stanton is perhaps best known for her active work in women’s suffrage, but her personal philosophy and commitment to women’s rights went far beyond voting. Stanton’s father had been an attorney, congressman, circuit court judge, and New York Supreme Court Justice, so from a young age Elizabeth was keenly aware that American women lacked rights in terms of property, income, custody, or, truly, personal freedom. These views are clear in the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments produced as an outcome of the Seneca Falls Convention, of which Cady Stanton was the primary author.

Through these documents, her other writing, and her oratory skill and organizing activity, Elizabeth Cady Stanton served as a chief strategist of the women’s movement for decades. During this time, she worked very closely with Susan B. Anthony and the two were lifelong friends, though they did not always agree. Sadly, Cady Stanton did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment.

In short, and because I’m feeling a bit feisty after a long string of Doodle disappointments: In my humble opinion, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wouldn’t have stood quietly by while Google tried to tell the world that men are really the movers, shakers, creators and innovators that matter. It’s a question of basic values.

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