In the Nineteenth Century many social, moral, religious, and intellectual reform movements began to start. The movement that attracted me the most was The Women’s Right Movement. The Seneca Falls Convention of 1948 is where the Women’s Right Movement had begun. The reformers of this movement were Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia. This movement did not focus only on the women’s right to vote but instead advocated for their instant ticket to all privileges and rights that belong to them as the citizens of the United States (Deere & De Leal, 2014).
This is the primary reason why any feminist should focus on this kind of a social movement. I chose this wave because it focused on advocating women’s right and privileges and fights against oppression. The movement helps women in attaining rights such as; right to vote and reduce gender disparities in sexual violence which is commonly imposed in women. (Rowbotham, 2013) Women had been fighting for rights long before the Seneca Rights Convention. The convention was seen as the beginning of the woman suffrage movement. One of the reformers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, had a large interest in starting woman’s rights convention.
During the 1840’s, Stanton devoted herself to become a revolutionary and change the political lives of women (Harper 1). Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Jane Hunt, Martha Coffin, and Mary Ann McClintock were all like-minded women and wanted to make a difference in the political and social lives of women. The women were not ready to lead, so they asked Mott’s husband to lead. They developed the Declaration of Sentiments which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence. Stanton was the one who wrote the declaration and it demanded that women be given the same rights that men have, including the right to vote (Harper 1).
The Seneca Falls Convention was organized in 1848 by Stanton, Mott, and Elizabeth and Mary Ann McClintock. On July 19-20, 1848, the convention met at the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Seneca Falls, New York. This is where the Declaration of Sentiments was read and it was signed by 68 women and 32 men out of 300 people who had attended the convention. When the convention was over five women were hit with criticism from the media, one source of media called the meeting “the most shocking and unnatural incident ever recorded in the history of womanize.” Many of the 100 people who signed the declaration withdrew their names due to the negative press (“Seneca Falls Convention” 1).
The Declaration of Sentiments was a controversial document because it was drafted by women, for women. The people who attended the convention agreed with most of the declaration, especially with this statement: “we hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Although this statement was agreeable for most, the right to vote for women was very controversial. Women’s suffrage was the only idea that did not receive full support from those who attended the convention. This did not hold a woman back from achieving what they wanted, equality between men and women, but this did not stop them from moving forward with their demands and fighting for equal rights.
The Seneca Falls Convention was not the only convention held to bring women together to find ways to fight for their civil liberties, there were other conventions such as the Worcester Convention and the Syracuse Convention. The Worcester Conventions attracted people from many states from all over the country, they were held annually from 1850 to 1860. Both females and males went to the conventions, in the eyes of reformers like Susan B. Anthony, conventions were to educate and inform people of the rights that women are deprived of and hoped to get people to join the cause.
Susan B. Anthony was a very important reformer to the Women’s Rights Movement; she held conventions at the local, state, and national levels. The first convention Anthony attended was the Syracuse Convention; this is where she was inspired to become a women’s rights activist. Anthony became a women’s civil rights activist, a leader. In the 1860’s, Southern states began to secede from the Union, other reformers wanted Anthony to cancel the convention that was soon happening but Anthony had figured that if they did, their hard work would be lost to the dominance of men.
The convention was cancelled and no national conventions were held for five years, after that time, Anthony and Stanton held a national convention in New York City. At this convention, it was expressed that now, the Women’s Rights Movement had one goal and that was to attain women’s suffrage (Harper 1). After the convention held in New York City, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed in 1890. This association brought together two groups that had disbanded, the radical National Woman Suffrage Association that was founded by Stanton and Anthony, and the more conservative organization led by Lucy Stone (Zophy 1). When these two groups came together, they flourished with new idea from young and educated women.
Eventually, Anthony left the presidency of NAWSA and new and young leaders came to take her place. Carrie Chapman Catt led the NAWSA to win women’s suffrage in the states. Alice Paul wanted to push for an amendment for women’s suffrage and this led to the nineteenth amendment (Zephyr 1). The Nineteenth Amendment had its final vote come in on May 28, 1919; it was in over a year (Vile 1). Although women’s rights activists now had achieved a goal, criticism still came from those who opposed. Most of the criticism came from the South; several states were not in favor of women’s suffrage. There were many court cases that tried to challenge this amendment such as the Leser v. Garnett case and the Adkins v. Children’s Hospital case.
Women had now achieved a small goal in their elaborate plan. This was the beginning for women in their fight for civil liberties. Achieve women’s suffrage was only the beginning for these women who continued to push for equality and rights that they believed they deserved. Whether it was on a local, state, or national level, women such as Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Susan B. Anthony all fought hard for their cause. Perhaps what faced these women next was to get women to work in the government and prove to men that they can do just as good as a man can do.
The fight for women’s rights is perpetual, feminism is a strong growing force and the people who fought for what women have now can be almost seen as the mothers and fathers of feminism and women’s civil liberties. There were several feminist activists in this wave, and they worked in either group or as individuals to address various issues. For example, a contraceptive pill was made in 1961 which made it easier for women to stick in their various careers and not have breaks due to unexpected pregnancies. This pill was approved by the food and drug administration.
Also, President Kennedy’s administration made human rights a significant concern and mentioned successful women to many of the high ranks in his administration. Betty Friedan also wrote a book called ‘The Feminine Mystique’ which sold out so well. In this book, she brought on site the mainstreamed image of women. She explained that putting women to stay at home not only contribute in wasting their potential and talents but also limit their possibilities. The book is widely known for having started the second wave feminism (Rowbotham, 2013).
In summary, women’s rights movement included the three waves of feminism which addressed specific issues such as women’s suffrage and women’s reproductive rights. Some of these issues were addressed and came to be passed in the constitution, and others were not and are still being addressed in our current society. The Women’s Right Movement still goes on today and it does have a board spectrum of matters to choose from.