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Encyclopedia > Seneca Falls Convention

This article is a largely a reprint of Osborn, Elizabeth R. The Seneca Falls Convention: Teaching about the Rights of Women and the Heritage of the Declaration of Independence. ERIC Digest.


The Seneca Falls Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York on July 19 to July 20, 1848, was the first women's rights convention held in the United States, and as a result is often called the birthplace of feminism. Prominent at the 1848 convention were leading reformers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Seneca Falls is a village located in Seneca County, New York. ... NY redirects here. ... July 19 is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... July 20 is the 201st day (202nd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 164 days remaining. ... Year 1848 (MDCCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The term women’s rights typically refers to freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized or ignored and/or illegitimately suppressed by law or custom in a particular society. ... Feminism is a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies that are concerned with cultural, political and economic practices and inequalities that discriminate against women; some have argued that gendered and sexed identities, such as man and woman, are socially constructed. ...


Different groups at different times have turned to the founding documents of the United States to meet their needs and to declare their entitlement to the promises of the Revolution of 1776. At Seneca Falls, New York, in the summer of 1848, a group of American women and men met to discuss the legal limitations imposed on women during this period. Their consciousness of those limitations had been raised by their participation in the anti-slavery movement; eventually they used the language and structure of the United States Declaration of Independence to stake their claim to the rights they felt women were entitled to as American citizens in the Declaration of Sentiments. This poster depicting the horrific conditions on slave ships was influential in mobilizing public opinion against slavery in the United Kingdom and the United States. ... A copy of the 1823 William J. Stone reproduction of the Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men, delegates to the first womens rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known to historians as the 1848 Womens Rights Convention. ...


Seneca Falls was in a key location at the time, on the Great Western Highway which ran west from Albany, giving travelers access to the West. The village's water power spurred the development of manufacturing industries, most notably various mills and pump manufacturers. The village also was part of New York's canal system, as the Seneca River through the village had been turned into canals and connected to the Erie Canal. Location in Albany County and the State of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York County Albany Founded 1614 Incorporated 1686 Government  - Mayor Gerald D. Jennings (D) Area  - City  21. ... NY redirects here. ... The Canal du Midi, Toulouse, France Canals are man-made channels for water. ... The Seneca River in Central New York State flows from west to east, from the Montezuma Swamp to the Senecas confluence with the Oneida and Oswego Rivers at the the Three Rivers area north of Syracuse. ... The Erie Canal (currently part of the New York State Canal System) is a canal in New York State, United States, that runs from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. ...

Contents

Background

In the 1840s the United States was in the throes of cultural and economic change. In the years since the Revolution and the Constitutional Convention, the nation's geographic boundaries and population had more than doubled, the population had shifted significantly westward, and many Americans' daily lives had drifted away from Jefferson's vision of a nation composed of independent farmers. Instead, farmers, artisans, and manufacturers existed in a world built around cash crops, manufactured goods, banks, and distant markets. Historians generally refer to this shift from production for a local economy based on a series of shared relationships to production for a distant, unknown market as the Market Revolution. Not all Americans welcomed these changes, which often left them feeling isolated and cut them off from traditional sources of community and comfort. In an effort to regain a sense of community and control over their nation's future, Americans, especially women, formed and joined reform societies. They were inspired by the message of the Second Great Awakening (a religious movement that emphasized man's potential and forgiveness of sin) and the Transcendentalist message of man's innate goodness; reformers joined together in organizations aimed at improving life in the country. These groups attacked what they perceived as the various wrongs in their society, including the lack of free public school education for both boys and girls, the inhumane treatment of mentally ill patients and criminals, the evil of slavery, the widespread use of alcohol, and the "rights and wrongs" of American women's legal position. The Seneca Falls Convention is a part of this larger period of social reform movements, a time when concern about the rights of various groups percolated to the surface. John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the Declaration in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress The American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen Colonies that... Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is sold for money. ... Manufacturing, a branch of industry, is the application of tools and a processing medium to the transformation of raw materials into finished goods for sale. ... “Banker” redirects here. ... The Second Great Awakening (1800–1830s) was the second great religious revival in United States history and consisted of renewed personal salvation experienced in revival meetings. ... Transcendentalism was the name of a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture and philosophy which emerged in New England in the early- to mid-nineteenth century. ... A mental illness or mental disorder refers to one of many mental health conditions characterized by distress, impaired cognitive functioning, atypical behavior, emotional dysregulation, and/or maladaptive behavior. ... Slave redirects here. ... Functional group of an alcohol molecule. ...


What brought three hundred women and men to this small upstate New York town in July 1848? Women of the Revolutionary era such as Abigail Adams and Judith Sargent Murray raised questions about what the Declaration of Independence would mean to them, but there had never been a large scale public meeting to discuss this topic until Seneca Falls. According to America's History, after the American Revolution, many new social roles for women emerged. With the men preoccupied with the war effort, it was up to women to take over many of their responsibilities on the home-front. As a result, women were able to establish a place for themselves in society. Women such as Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe began writing about women's moral superiority and publishing their works. Many women began participating in reform organizations whose goals were to improve the lives of others and to fight for the rights of those who could not speak for themselves, such as schoolchildren and the mentally ill. In 1834, the New York Female Reform Society was established with Lydia Finney as its president. It attempted to provide a moral working atmosphere to keep women out of prostitution. Other female leaders such as Dorothea Dix focused their energies on prison reform in the 1830's. It was during this time that women's role as educators also emerged. Catharine Beecher established several academies for women and her writings suggested that women were the most appropriate candidates for teaching positions. Finally the abolitionist movement gave women another opportunity to become involved outside of the domestic sphere. With all of these structural changes, the time was ripe for a close examination of women's rights as well. A consciousness-raising experience, however, was necessary to turn these women's thoughts to their own condition. Abigail Smith Adams she was (November 11, 1744 – October 28, 1818) was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and is seen as the second First Lady of the United States though that term was not coined until after her death. ... She was on the equality of the sexists. ... Catherine Beecher Catherine Esther Beecher (September 6, 1800 – May 12, 1878), the daughter of Lyman Beecher and sister to Harriet Beecher Stowe, was a very active supporter for the cause of womens education. ... Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was a white American abolitionist and novelist, whose Uncle Toms Cabin (1852) attacked the cruelty of slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential, even in Britain. ... Year 1834 (MDCCCXXXIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Dorothea Lynde Dix (April 4, 1802 – July 17, 1887) was an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums. ...


The triggering incident was a direct result of participation in anti-slavery organizations by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Anti-slavery societies proliferated in the Northeast region of the United States and in some parts of what today we call the Midwest. Many of these organizations had female members. According to Cristine Stansell in her article The Road from Seneca Falls, the abolitionist movement was what allowed women to get their foot in the door. They then began to use their involvement to promote women's rights. This caused the movement to split into two groups, the radicals and the conservatives. The radicals promoted equality for all, including women, while the conservatives clung to traditional gender roles. It was these conservatives who attempted to constrain women to the domestic sphere by refusing to let them participate in the abolitionist cause. In 1840 the World Anti-Slavery Convention met in London; some of the American groups elected women as their representatives to this meeting. Once in London, after a lengthy debate, the female representatives were denied their rightful seats and consigned to the balcony by conservative abolitionists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met at this meeting while sitting on the balcony and walking through the streets of London. Eight years later Stanton and Mott called a convention to discuss women's rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American social activist and leading figure of the early womens rights movement. ... Lucretia Coffin Mott (January 3, 1793 – November 11, 1880) was an American Quaker minister, abolitionist, social reformer and proponent of womens rights. ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


The Call for Women's Rights 1848

On July 14, 1848, the Seneca County Courier announced that on the following Wednesday and Thursday (July 19 and 20, 1848) a "convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women" would be held. The Convention had been planned at a meeting a few days earlier in nearby Waterloo, NY, attended by Lucretia Mott of Philadelphia, Elizabeth Cady Stanton of Seneca Falls, Jane Hunt of Waterloo and Elizabeth McClintock of Waterloo. The meeting took place at the home of Jane Hunt. July 14 is the 195th day of the year (196th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1848 (MDCCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Waterloo is a town located in Seneca County, New York. ... Nickname: Motto: Philadelphia maneto - Let brotherly love continue Location in Pennsylvania Coordinates: Country United States Commonwealth Pennsylvania County Philadelphia Founded October 27, 1682 Incorporated October 25, 1701 Government  - Mayor John F. Street (D) Area  - City 369. ... Seneca Falls is a village located in Seneca County, New York. ...


The Convention would take place in the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York. While the first session was planned to be exclusively for women, the men who arrived for the event were not turned away. On the second day, the Convention approved a document titled the Declaration of Sentiments, a statement written by Stanton and others and modeled on the Declaration of Independence. Logo of The Wesleyan Church For the former Wesleyan Methodist Church of Great Britain, see Methodist Church of Great Britain The Wesleyan Church is a religious denomination associated with the holiness movement that has roots in Methodism and the teachings of John Wesley. ... The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men, delegates to the first womens rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known to historians as the 1848 Womens Rights Convention. ... A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. ...


In adapting the Declaration of Independence, Stanton and her co-authors replaced "King George" with "all men" as the agent of women's oppressed condition and compiled a suitable list of grievances, just as the colonists did in the Declaration of Independence. These grievances reflected the severe limitations on women's legal rights in America at this time: women could not vote; they could not participate in the creation of laws that they had to obey; their property was taxed. Further, in the relatively unusual case of a divorce, custody of children was virtually automatically awarded to the father; access to the professions and higher education generally was closed to women; and most churches barred women from participating publicly in the ministry or other positions of authority. George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. ...


The Declaration of Sentiments proclaimed that "all men and women were created equal" and that the undersigned would employ all methods at their disposal to right these wrongs. The document was discussed in length by those in attendance. It was the voting provision which caused the most debate, but ultimately the document was adopted and signed with hardly any alterations and was published as a pamphlet. Of the approximately 300 people who attended the Convention, 100 signed the Declaration of Sentiments.


David Walker, in his efforts to gain recognition of the legal rights of Black Americans, similarly used the Declaration of Independence in his call to the American people on behalf of the oppressed Black population, both freed and enslaved. In the 1840s and even today, the language of Thomas Jefferson resonates through American life. Many Americans believe that the ideals of the Revolution are applicable to life in the present, just as the women of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention felt those ideals spoke to them. Cover of David Walkers Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World David Walker (September 28, 1785 - June 28, 1830) was a black abolitionist who suxs on dick does it real good. ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ...


Historian Gerda Lerner has pointed out that, in addition to ideas of social contract and natural rights, religious ideas provided a second fundamental source for the Declaration of Sentiments. Most of the women attending the convention had been active in Quaker or evangelical Methodist movements. The document therefore draws from writings by the evangelical Quaker Sarah Grimke to make biblical claims that God had created women equal and that man had usurped this authority by establishing "absolute tyranny" over woman. According to Jami Carlacio, Grimke's writings opened the public's eyes to ideas like women's rights and for the first time they were willing to question convention. This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, or Friends, is a religious community founded in England in the 17th century. ... The Methodist movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity. ... Sarah Moore Grimké (November 26, 1792 - December 23, 1873) was born in South Carolina, the daughter of a plantation owner who was a firm believer in both slavery and the subordinate status of women. ...


The convention in popular culture

The Distillers was a punk rock band formed in 1998. ... Punk rock is an anti-establishment music movement beginning around 1976 (although precursors can be found several years earlier), exemplified and popularised by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Sing Sing Death House is the second album by punk rock band The Distillers, released 2002. ...

See also

The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men, delegates to the first womens rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known to historians as the 1848 Womens Rights Convention. ... The following is a list of signatories of the 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments. ... The term womens suffrage refers to an economic and political reform movement aimed at extending suffrage — the right to vote — to women. ... The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that was intended to guarantee equal rights under the law for Americans regardless of sex. ... Reproductive rights (also Procreative liberty) refers to human rights in areas of sexual reproduction, including the rights to reproduce (such as opposition to forced sterilization) as well as rights not to reproduce (such as support for access to birth control and abortion), the right to privacy, medical coverage, right to... Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Opened for signature 18 December 1979 in New York City Entered into force 3 September 1981 Conditions for entry into force 20 ratifications Parties 185[1] The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW... Written in 1792, Mary Wollstonecrafts A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the earliest works on the woman question and influenced the earliest feminists in England and America in the 19th century. ... Womens Right to Know refers to the idea that a pregnant woman seeking an abortion should be educated as to the possible negative consequences of such a procedure. ... The Committee on Womens Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) is a committee of the European Parliament. ... The Subjection of Women is the title of an essay written by John Stewart Mill in 1869, possibly jointly with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill, stating an argument in favor of equality between the sexes. ... The League of Women Voters is a United States non-partisan political organization founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt during a meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. ... In Defense of Women is H. L. Menckens 1918 book discussing his opinion of women. ... Lost, see Maternity Leave (Lost). ... Feminism is a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies that are concerned with cultural, political and economic practices and inequalities that discriminate against women; some have argued that gendered and sexed identities, such as man and woman, are socially constructed. ... This article is becoming very long. ...

External links

References

  • Carlacio, Jami. ""Ye Knew Your Duty, But Ye Did It Not": The Epistolary Rhetoric of Sarah Grimke." Rhetoric Review 3rd ser. 21.3 (2002): 247-263. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 23 October 2005.
  • Stansell, Christine. "The Road From Seneca Falls." The New Republic 219.6 (1998): 26-38. Proquest. ABI/INFORM. 20 October 2005.
  • Capron, E.W. "National Reformer." National Reform Nomination For President Gerrit Smith of New York 3 August 1848.
  • Ryerson, Lisa M. "Falls revisited: Reflection on the legacy of the 1848 Woman's Rights Convention." Vital Speeches of the day 65.11 (1999): 327-332. Proquest. ABI/INFORM. 20 October 2005.
  • Brody, David, et al. America's History. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Seneca Falls Convention: Teaching about the Rights of Women and the Heritage of the Declaration of Independence. ... (1668 words)
At Seneca Falls, New York in the summer of 1848, a group of American men and women met to discuss the legal limitations imposed on women during this period.
Their consciousness of those limitations had been raised by their participation in the anti-slavery movement; eventually they used the language and structure of the Declaration of Independence to stake their claim to the rights they felt women were entitled to as American citizens.
The Seneca Falls Convention is a part of this larger period of social reform movements, a time when concern about the rights of various groups percolated to the surface.
Seneca Falls Convention :: The Encyclopedia of New York State :: Syracuse University Press (644 words)
The first women's rights convention in the United States (originally known as the Woman's Rights Convention) was held at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Seneca Falls (Seneca Co) on 19-20 July 1848.
Seneca Falls was also the home of emerging women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
On the first day of the convention nearly 300 participants heard speeches, the Declaration of Sentiments, and 11 resolutions proclaiming the natural equality of all people and declaring illegitimate all laws and social customs that subordinated women.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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