Elizabeth Cady Stanton & The Women’s Movement

Category: Season 4

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Dr. Lori D. Ginzberg

Pennsylvania State University

An historian of nineteenth-century American women, Dr. Ginzberg’s research has focused on the ways that ideologies about gender obscure the material and ideological realities of class, how women of different groups express political identities, and the ways that commonsense notions of American life shape, contain, and control radical ideas. She has taught a wide range of courses in U.S. history, women’s history, lesbian and gay history, and feminist theory.

In this lecture we learn about brilliant, self-righteous, and charming, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. the founding philosopher of the American movement for woman’s rights. Best known for declaring that “all men and women are created equal” in 1848, and her demand for the vote, she also sought to rethink and remake women’s status in politics, law, religion, and marriage.

Considered radical at the time, her ideas (a women’s right to own property, acquire an education, exercise a vote, speak out in church and state, get a divorce) are now largely viewed as common sense. However, like all leaders, Stanton was a complex figure. Her absolutism about “woman’s rights” contained a racist and elitist strand that continues to shape her legacy.

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