When Elizabeth Cady married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton in 1840, she'd already observed enough about the legal relationships between men and women to insist that the word obey be dropped from the ceremony.
An active abolitionist herself, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was outraged when the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, also in 1840, denied official standing to women delegates, including Lucretia Mott. In 1848, she and Mott called for a women's rights convention to be held in Seneca Falls, New York. That convention, and the Declaration of Sentiments written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton which was approved there, is credited with initiating the long struggle towards women's rights and woman suffrage (the right to vote).
After 1851, Stanton worked in close partnership with Susan B. Anthony. Stanton often served as the writer and Anthony as the strategist in this effective working relationship.
In the years following the Civil War, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were among those who were determined to focus on female suffrage when only voting rights of freed males were addressed in Reconstruction (laws that put Southern states under U.S. military control and required them to write new constitutions). They founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and Stanton served as president.
When the NWSA and the rival American Woman Suffrage Association finally merged in 1890, Elizabeth Cady Stanton served as the president of the resulting National American Woman Suffrage Association.
In her later years she added to her speech- and article-writing a history of the suffrage movement, her autobiography Eighty Years and More, and a controversial critique of women's treatment by religion, The Woman's Bible.
While Elizabeth Cady Stanton is best known for her long contribution to the woman suffrage struggle, she was also active and effective in winning property rights for married women, equal guardianship of children, and liberalized divorce laws. These reforms made it possible for women to leave marriages that were abusive of the wife, the children, and the economic health of the family.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton died in New York on October 26, 1902, with nearly 20 years to go before the United States granted women the right to vote.