In this 1892 speech, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), a leading figure in the early American women’s movement, provides a powerful and unique philosophical defense of women’s rights. Considered by many as the most significant speech of Stanton’s career, this address affirms women’s right to equality based on “the solitude of self.” Stanton opens with a summation of common arguments for women’s rights, such as the right of all citizens to equal rights, all based on a concept of human beings as members of a society. Stanton then turns these ideas on their head, basing her argument for women’s rights on a concept of human beings as solitary, self-reliant individuals. According to Stanton, both men and women are destined to “make the voyage of life alone,” and in order to succeed, both men and women must be empowered with the necessary knowledge and skills. “Seeing, then, that life must ever be a march and a battle that each soldier must be equipped for his own protection,” Stanton says, “it is the height of cruelty to rob the individual of a single natural right.” This speech, translated to Persian by Tavaana, provides a unique link between the political philosophy of individual rights and an existential perspective on the self.
Tavaana Publication Click here to read Tavaana’s exclusive translation of “The Solitude of Self.”