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14 Early Feminist Quotes That Still Resonate Today

One hundred seventy years ago, crusaders for women’s suffrage gathered at the Seneca Falls Convention to sign the Declaration of Sentiments. Here are words from some of the most legendary American women’s rights activists of the era that hold true to this day.

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On self regard

I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns. —Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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On independence

Independence is happiness. —Susan B. Anthony. If you like these feminist quotes, check out these inspiring stories about women changing the lives of women around the world.

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On civilization

I think the degree of a nation’s civilization may be measured by the degree of enlightenment of its women. —Helen Keller

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On righting wrongs

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them. —Ida B. Wells. Feminist quotes like these have inspired countless women over the years. Read about one woman who uses feminism to fight cyberbullying.

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On equal pay

We want rights. The flour-merchant, the house-builder, and the postman charge us no less on account of our sex; but when we endeavor to earn money to pay all these, then, indeed, we find the difference. —Lucy Stone

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On similarities between the sexes

We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. —Sojourner Truth. The women behind these feminist quotes made a true impact in history. Check out these 13 moments that changed women’s history forever.

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On social progress

Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. —Jane Addams

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On identity

Womanhood is the great fact in her life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations. —Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

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On influence

I believe that the influence of women will save the country before every other power. —Lucy Stone

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On opportunity

I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance. —Jane Addams. Don’t miss these 9 incredible women you didn’t learn about in history class.

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On value

A gentleman opposed to their enfranchisement once said to me, ‘Women have never produced anything of any value to the world.’ I told him the chief product of the women had been the men, and left it to him to decide whether the product was of any value. —Anna Howard Shaw

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On the balance of power

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. —Elizabeth Cady Stanton. For more feminist quotes, don’t miss these 10 empowering quotes from women in politics.

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On authority

We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth. —Lucretia Mott

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On justice

Women should have justice as well as praise, and if she is to dispense with either, she can better afford to part with the latter than the former. —Frederick Douglass.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest