• Matilda Butler

Get Inspired in Your Writing and Your Life: Suffragist Part 2

Find Inspiration for Your Life and for Your Writing...


... from suffragists.


OK. That was going to be my opening.


However, this isn't the article I intended to write for today. It all started with a straight forward idea. I've been writing about the five women who were the force behind the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. I thought it might be fun to get one quote from each woman. I figured I could find ones that would inspire you in the actions of your own life or inspire you to write.


What happened?


First, as a reminder, the five women were:

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • Lucretia Mott

  • Martha Wright (Lucretia's younger sister)

  • Mary Ann M'Clintock

  • Jane Hunt

These women had an indomitable spirit. No matter what happened. No matter the setbacks. No matter the seeming lack of progress. They persevered. That's real inspiration.


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And I Wanted to Share Some of Their Words...

... so you could add a bit of (or more of) their indomitable spirit to your own life.


Words of Inspiration

But wait. I couldn't find quotes from all five women.


It was fairly easy to find quotes by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Lucretia Mott also left a legacy of her words. And I even managed to find a single quote from Martha Wright. But that's it. No matter where I looked or how many places I searched, I could not find the written legacy of Jane Hunt or Mary Ann M'Clintock.


I could find what they had done. In other words, I could find their actions but not their words.


Lesson

Rather than accepting defeat and simply ignoring this part of the story, I realized it carried a lesson -- an important lesson. It is valuable to leave behind our story, our thoughts, our life lessons for the next generation. What will your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren know of your perspective, your attitude, your wisdom, your goals, your accomplishments?


Absolutely nothing unless you write them down. That's right. It is up to you to determine the legacy you will leave behind. And it is our stories that matter.


So enjoy the quotes from 3 suffragists. Then see how you will apply them to your life. Find your inspiration from them.

Three Seneca Falls Suffragists and Their Words:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Note: We almost always see the photos of Elizabeth Cady Stanton when she had white hair and was quite elderly.

I loved finding this photo where she is holding one of her children -- Harriot Eaton -- a daughter who received an undergraduate and master's degree in Mathematics from Vassar. (And to keep the story going, Harriot's daughter, Nora, became the first woman to earn a civil engineering degree at Cornell University. She married Lee De Forest, considered to be the Father of Radio. But she divorced him when he insisted she leave her career and stay home as a housewife. Instead, she had a career as a civil engineer, architect, political activist, and eventually even as a real estate developer.

Want inspiration for your life? See how Elizabeth Cady Stanton's words might shape how you lead your life:

The best protection any woman can have... is courage. ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Lucretia Mott, Source of Inspiration for Courage

Fortunately for us, we have a considerable amount of text that Lucretia Mott wrote. It was hard to choose, but I was struck by the quote below. Most women find times when we they don't take the stand we want to. We probably don't use the word "coward" but we know that we back down. So if you find yourself in that situation, just think of Lucretia Mott. For if your principles are right, you don't need to be a coward!

If our principles are right, why should we be cowards? ~ Lucretia Coffin Mott

Martha Coffin Wright

On the other hand, Lucretia's younger sister, Martha Coffin Wright left less in the way of written material. In recent years, more has been learned about her life and I was fortunate to read a recent telling of her story in the New England Journal of Public Policy. The article was called "Lessons about Reform from 'A Very Dangerous Woman'" by Sherry H. Penny and James Livington, published March 21, 2005.


And yes, it seems that Martha was considered "a very dangerous woman" by her neighbors who were conservative and did not approve of her work as an abolitionist or as a feminist (a term not used at the time).


Below are Martha's words to Lucy Stone.

In union [of women] there is strength" ~ Martha Coffin Wright

The suffragists found strength when they worked together. Their voices were magnified when they came from a group. Their marches demanded attention when there was "a union of women."


Can These 3 Suffragists Inspire You?


What might you do with these three quotes?


Consider:

  • Write about how you might be more courageous in your life. It is hard to imagine that any of us are courageous enough. Sometimes it just seems simpler to cave rather than standing up for ourselves. Find your inner courage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton will give you a standing ovation.

  • What are your principles? That's what Lucretia Mott might ask you. What is most important and how do your principles guide your life? Start with a list of your principles. Think of this as the beginning of a legacy for your family -- both now and in the future. Once the list is started, you will probably want to add to the list until you are satisfied. Then take each principle -- one at a time -- and write a little story about each -- why it matters -- how you strive to uphold each in your daily actions -- what you want others to know, etc.

  • How do you express support for other women? I think that's what Martha Wright would want to know. Do you support other women at work? Do you take their side? Do you belong to any women's groups? What actions do you take with them to advance the cause of women's right?

We hope you'll take action in your own life from the inspiring words of these women.


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  • Want to take actions with other women?

  • Want to support other women?

  • Want to create a group of women and celebrate women's right to vote?

Consider this 4-pack of suffrage sashes and authentic Votes for Women signs.





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