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“It is the nation’s time”: How women won the vote

"Remember the ladies,” Abigail Adams had said, but it seemed that no one had. “I have argued with [Wendell] Phillips and the whole fraternity and all will favor enfranchising the negro without us,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton told Susan B. Anthony as soon as the war was over. “Woman’s cause is in deep water.”

For almost two decades Stanton had been passionately committed to securing equal rights for American women. The author of the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments that had been read at the Seneca Falls woman’s rights convention in 1848, which she had helped to organize, Stanton had been married for twenty-five years to Henry Brewster Stanton, a well-known abolitionist whom she had met at the home of her cousin Gerrit Smith. Defying stereotypes about women activists being mean, mannish, and unmarried, she had given birth to seven children; she was round and rosy; her hair was snow white, her manner amiable, her dress an unoffending and forgettable calico. Said a friend of the fossilized men who sat open-mouthed when Stanton appeared in public, “Our fossil is first amazed—next bewildered—then fascinated—then convinced—not exactly of the doctrine of woman’s suffrage, perhaps—but at any rate that a woman to be an advocate of that doctrine need neither be a fright nor a fury.”

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