Day Two:

Tuesday, June 18
Placing Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Western New York


In this session we will focus on the life and career of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who exemplifies several themes of the seminar, including the impact of the Haudenosaunee presence and the intersection of religion and reform. Stanton was born in Johnstown, New York, not far from Johnson Hall, home of the Irish immigrant Sir William Johnson and Molly Brant, sister of the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant. Some fifty years before Cady Stanton's birth, the Hall served as an important diplomatic outpost, with Johnson and Molly Brant working successfully to draw the Iroquois into the alliance with the British that led to the defeat of France. After she married Henry Stanton, an abolitionist speaker, and dedicated herself to political reform, the couple settled in Seneca Falls in 1847; Stanton lived in a house that she described as the "Center of the Rebellion" until 1862. Stanton opened the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 with a rousing keynote address that offered a foundational statement of women's rights. She was the main author of the convention's Declaration of Sentiments, a revision of the Declaration of Independence that asserts civic agency for women. Her most famous work was "The Solitude of Self", which she first delivered as a speech at the 1892 convention of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C. Stanton also led the international collaboration that produced The Woman's Bible (1895, 1898), a revisionary effort that treats women equally with men, reflecting the spirit of religious critique that was common in western New York. Seminar participants will consider these writings as products of the regional milieu that formed Stanton.

Tentative Readings:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "Address to the Seneca Falls Convention" and “Declaration of Sentiments” (1848); “Solitude of Self” (1892); excerpts from The Woman’s Bible (1895; 1898)

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this seminar do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

View of the Erie Canal by John William Hill (1829)