The Suffrage Movement
In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, among others, organized the first women’s right’s convention. The Seneca Falls Convention, held July 19 – 20 in Seneca Falls, NY, drew a crowd of close to three hundred attendees to publicly discuss the social, civil, and religious conditions and rights of women. The first day’s attendance was limited to women, with men invited to attend on the second day. Mott and Stanton had traveled to London in 1840 to participate in the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention, only to be barred from speaking based on their gender. The two, while both still committed to the abolition movement, began to also organize and advocate for women’s rights upon their return to the United States.
At the Seneca Falls Convention Stanton gave her now-famous speech “The Declaration of Sentiments.” Modeled after the “Declaration of Independence,” the document urged the abandonment of unjust laws that discriminated against women, although it should be noted that there was no mention of those women who were enslaved nor Indigenous women, whose rights were continually violated. After discussing and debating the sentiments, Stanton put forth eleven resolutions. The ninth, which was the most controversial, stated, “That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” After much debate, the sentiments and resolutions were signed by 68 women and 32 men, “officially” setting off the suffrage movement.