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Margaret Livingston Cady emerged from a family who showed relative respect for women's property rights. In Margaret's family, Scottish Livingstons had intermarried with Hudson River Dutch families, and their desendents inherited a tradition of Dutch law, based on Roman rather than English traditions, which gave woman rights to hold property.

Margaret Livingston, Stanton's mother was quite different individual than Elizabeth's father.  She was almost six feet tall, extremely sociable, and (so her daughter remembered) stern -- an imposing, dominant, and vivacious figure who controlled the Cady household with a firm hand. Stanton would later describe her as "the soul of independence and self-reliance, -- cool in the hour of danger, and never knowing fear," "inclined to a stern military rule of the household, -- a queenly and magnificent sway." At the time of Elizabeth's birth, wrote another commentor, Margaret Livingston Cady was a "young lady of high spirit, dash, and vivacity," qualities she retained until her death.

In later life, Elizabeth Cady Stanton always emphasized her father's formative influence. Like her father, she pursued intellectual interests, legal studies, and persuasive public speaking. In personality, however, although she did not acknowledge it, Elizabeth more closely resembled her mother -- lively, sociable, fun loving, and efficient. And like her mother, she would derive much of her adult sense of identity from her role as a mother of a large family. Much of her success as a public figure would come, in fact, because Elizabeth made motherhood, normally a private role, the basis of her public career.

The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Woman's Rights Convention (Women in American History) by Judith Wellman


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