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Elizabeth Cady Stanton
marriage vows and divorce

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1889, Oil on canvas by Anna Elizabeth Klumpke

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a feminist from the start, refusing to include "obey" in her marriage vows to her husband; and when she spoke of God, she used the female pronoun. Stanton helped organize the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, which was the founding moment of the American women's rights movement, and she was the longtime president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Although Stanton's goal was to give women political power through the ballot, she also spearheaded other feminist goals, such as liberalizing divorce laws and reforming child-rearing methods. But unlike other early feminists, she always insisted on the primacy of women's right to vote over other reform objectives, including abolition. She wrote, "Our 'pathway' is straight to the ballot box with no variableness nor shadow of turning."

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