Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

American Abolitionist, Leader of Women's Rights Movement

"I have no sympathy with the old idea that children owe such immense gratitude to their parents that they can never fulfill their obligations to them. I think the obligation is all on the other side. Parents can never do too much for their children to repay them for the injustice of having brought them into the world, unless they have insured them high moral and intellectual gifts, fine physical health, and enough money and education to render life something more than one careless struggle for necessaries."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal."

"The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."

"Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility."

"The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward women, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her."

"Womanhood is the great fact in her life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations."

"The new religion will teach the dignity of human nature and its infinite possibilities for development. It will teach the solidarity of the race and that all must rise and fall as one. Its creed will be justice, liberty, equality for all the children of earth."

"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."

"Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."

"Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice. "

"Human beings lose their logic in their vindictiveness. "

"I am always busy, which is perhaps the chief reason why I am always well."

"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. "

"A man in love will jump to pick up a glove or a bouquet for a silly girl of sixteen, whilst at home he will permit his aged mother to carry pails of water and armfuls of wood, or his wife to lug a twenty-pound baby, hour after hour, without ever offe"

"And thus it ever is: so long as woman labors to second man's endeavors and exalt his sex above her own, her virtues pass unquestioned; but when she dares to demand rights and privileges for herself, her motives, manners, dress, personal appearance, a"

"Did I not feel that the time has come for the questions of women's wrongs to be laid before the public? Did I not believe that women herself must do this work, for women alone understand the height, the depth, the breadth of her degradation."

"Because man and woman are the complement of one another, we need woman's thought in national affairs to make a safe and stable government."

"Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving."

"All the men of the Old Testament were polygamists, and Christ and Paul, the central figures of the New Testament, were celibates, and condemned marriage by both precept and example."

"All through the centuries, scholars and scientists have been imprisoned, tortured and burned alive for some discovery which seemed to conflict with a petty text of Scripture. Surely the immutable laws of the universe can teach more impressive and exalted lessons than the holy books of all the religions on earth."

"A mind always in contact with children and servants, whose aspirations and ambitions rise no higher than the roof that shelters it, is necessarily dwarfed in its proportions."

"As women are taking an active part in pressing on the consideration of Congress many narrow sectarian measures, such as more rigid Sunday laws, the stopping of travel, the distribution of the mail on that day, and the introduction of the name of God into the Constitution; and as this action on the part of some women is used as an argument for the disfranchisement of all, I hope this convention will declare that the Woman Suffrage Association is opposed to all union of Church and State, and pledges itself as far as possible to maintain the secular nature of our Government."

"Among the clergy we find our most violent enemies, those most opposed to any change in woman's position."

"Dress loose, take a great deal of exercise , and be particular about your diet and sleep sound enough, the body has a great effect on the mind."

"Embrace truth as it is revealed to-day by human reason."

"How long will the heathens rage?"

"I asked them why one read in the synagogue service every week the I thank thee, O Lord, that I was not born a woman. It is not meant in an unfriendly spirit, and it is not intended to degrade or humiliate women. But it does, nevertheless. Suppose the service read, 'I think thee, O Lord, that I was not born a jackass.' Could that be twisted in any way into a compliment to the jackass?"

"I can truly say that all the cares and anxieties, the trials and disappointments of my whole life, are light, when balanced with my sufferings in childhood and youth from the theological dogmas which I sincerely believed, and the gloom connected with everything associated with the name of religion."

"I know of no other book that so fully teaches the subjection and degradation of women."

"I have been into many of the ancient cathedrals - grand, wonderful, mysterious. But I always leave them with a feeling of indignation because of the generations of human beings who have struggled in poverty to build these altars to an unknown god."

"I poured out the torrent of my long-standing discontent and I challenged them to do and dare anything."

"I shall not grow conservative with age"

"I often saw weary little women coming to the table after most exhausting labors, and large, bumptious husbands spreading out their hands and thanking the Lord for the meals that the dear women had prepared, as if the whole came down like manna from heaven. So I preached a sermon in the blessing I gave. You will notice that it has three heresies in it: Heavenly Father and Mother, make us thankful for all the blessings of this life, and make us ever mindful of the patient hands that oft in weariness spread our tables and prepare our daily food. For humanity's sake, Amen."

"I think if women would indulge more freely in vituperation, they would enjoy ten times the health they do. It seems to me they are suffering from repression."

"If the object of government is to protect the weak against the strong, how unwise to place the power wholly in the hands of the strong."

"I thought that the chief thing to be done in order to equal boys was to be learned and courageous. So I decided to study Greek and learn to manage a horse."

"I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns."

"It is impossible for one class to appreciate the wrongs of another."

"Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates, from the center to the circumference, the graduating circles of all thought and action. Love is the talisman of human weal and woe - the open sesame to every soul."

"It was just so in the American Revolution, in 1776, the first delicacy the men threw overboard in Boston harbor was the tea, woman's favorite beverage. The tobacco and whiskey, though heavily taxed, they clung to with the tenacity of the devil-fish."

"It requires philosophy and heroism to rise above the opinion of the wise men of all nations and races."

"It would be ridiculous to talk of male and female atmospheres, male and female springs or rains, male and female sunshine... how much more ridiculous is it in relation to mind, to soul, to thought, where there is as undeniably no such thing as sex, to talk of male and female education and of male and female schools."

"Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a condition of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man's bounty for all her material wants…"

"Men can never understand the fear of everlasting punishment that fills the souls of women and children. The orthodox religion, as drawn from the Bible and expounded by the church, is enough to drive the most imaginative and sensitive natures to despair and death."

"Men think that self-sacrifice is the most charming of all the cardinal virtues for women, and in order to keep it in healthy working order, they make opportunities for its illustration as often as possible."

"Men never fail to dwell on maternity as a disqualification for the possession of many civil and political rights. Suggest the idea of women having a voice in making laws and administering the Government in the halls of legislation, in Congress, or the British Parliament, and men will declaim at once on the disabilities of maternity in a sneering contemptuous way, as if the office of motherhood was undignified and did not comport with the highest public offices in church and state. It is vain that we point them to Queen Victoria, who has carefully reared a large family, while considering and signing..."

"Men say we are ever cruel to each other. Let us end this ignoble record and henceforth stand by womanhood. If Victoria Woodhull must be crucified, let men drive the spikes and plait the crown of thorns."

"Nature, like a loving mother, is ever trying to keep land and sea, mountain and valley, each in its place, to hush the angry winds and waves, balance the extremes of heat and cold, of rain and drought, that peace, harmony and beauty may reign supreme."

"Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another."

"Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of ones self- sovereignty."