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Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Robert Shetterly's portrait of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
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“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
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Elizabeth Cady Stanton
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78 of 100
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Reformer, Writer, Lecturer (1815-1902)

Elizabeth Cady was born in Johnstown, New York, into the privileged life of a judge's family. At eighteen she graduated from Troy Female Seminary and soon entered the world of social reform through her cousin, Gerrit Smith, who was actively helping fugitive slaves escape to Canada. At his home she met the journalist and abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton and married him in 1840.

When Elizabeth accompanied her husband to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, she encountered the women's suffrage leader, Lucretia Mott, and shared her indignation at the convention's refusal to seat women delegates. Extending the rights of women became the focus of her public life. An organizer of the first women's rights convention in the United States in Seneca Falls, New York (1848), she drafted the women's bill of rights, insisting on the inclusion of the right to vote.

Her long association with Susan B. Anthony began three years later and together the gifted writer and speaker (Stanton) and the dynamic organizer (Anthony) led the movement for equality. In addition to the campaign for suffrage, they championed reform of laws governing property, marriage and divorce; extension of educational opportunities, reforms in dress and even in religion. “The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation,” wrote Stanton, who at the age of seventy published the Woman's Bible. Stanton and Anthony edited and published a militant feminist newspaper, The Revolutionary, and, with Matilda Joslyn Gage, compiled the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage (1881-86). In 1898 she published her autobiography, Eighty Years and More. A list of her achievements includes the rearing of her seven children.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton met the mockery and criticism of her contemporaries with firmness and humor: “They tell us sometimes that if we had only kept quiet, all these desirable things would have come about of themselves. I am reminded of the Greek clown who, having seen an archer bring down a flying bird, remarked, sagely: ‘You might have saved your arrow, for the bird anyway would have been killed by the fall.'”

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See the full set of Robert Shetterly's portraits at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Tools for Teaching: see the acompanying curriculum materials with suggestions on how to use the portraits and biographies of these American truth-tellers in your classroom.
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Americans Who Tell the Truth ::

Robert Shetterly's series highlights Americans past and present whose dignity, courage, and honesty have shaped this country.

This beautiful coffee-table book is an eloquent collection of portraits and stirring words of these brave citizens from all walks of life.
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A special YES! selection of Greeting Cards from the series in sets of 8 (with envelopes).

Sets feature high quality prints of the portraits, complete with quotes and biographies.

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