Declaration of Sentiments , document, outlining the rights that American women should be entitled to as citizens, that emerged from the Seneca Falls Convention in New York in July Three days before the convention, feminists Lucretia Mott , Martha C. Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton , and Mary Ann McClintock met to assemble the agenda for the meeting along with the speeches that would be made.
The Declaration of Sentiments begins by asserting the equality of all men and women and reiterates that both genders are endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It argues that women are oppressed by the government and the patriarchal society of which they are a part. The document insists that women be viewed as full citizens of the United States and be granted all the same rights and privileges that were granted to men. Sixty-eight women and 32 men, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass , signed the Declaration of Sentiments, although many eventually withdrew their names because of the intense ridicule and criticism they received after the document was made public.
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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. She also introduced a resolution calling for woman suffrage that was adopted after considerable debate. It called upon women to organize and to petition for their rights. The convention passed 12 resolutions—11 unanimously—designed to gain certain rights and privileges that women of the era….
Declaration of Independence , in U. United States, country in North America, a federal republic of 50 states. Besides the 48 conterminous states that occupy the middle latitudes of the continent, the United States includes the state of Alaska, at the northwestern extreme of North America, and the island state of Hawaii, in the…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! They planned the event during a visit to the area by Philadelphia-based Lucretia Mott.
Mott, a Quaker, was famous for her oratorical ability, which was rare for non-Quaker women during an era in which women were often not allowed to speak in public. The meeting comprised six sessions including a lecture on law, a humorous presentation, and multiple discussions about the role of women in society. Stanton and the Quaker women presented two prepared documents, the Declaration of Sentiments and an accompanying list of resolutions, to be debated and modified before being put forward for signatures.
A heated debate sprang up regarding women's right to vote, with many — including Mott — urging the removal of this concept, but Frederick Douglass , who was the convention's sole African American attendee, argued eloquently for its inclusion, and the suffrage resolution was retained. Exactly of approximately attendees signed the document, mostly women.
The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including featured speaker Mott, as one important step among many others in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights,  while it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men. Stanton considered the Seneca Falls Convention to be the beginning of the women's rights movement, an opinion that was echoed in the History of Woman Suffrage , which Stanton co-wrote. The convention's Declaration of Sentiments became "the single most important factor in spreading news of the women's rights movement around the country in and into the future", according to Judith Wellman, a historian of the convention.
In the decades leading up to , a small number of women began to push against restrictions imposed upon them by society. A few men aided in this effort. In , Reverend Charles Grandison Finney began allowing women to pray aloud in gatherings of men and women. Recalling the era in , Paulina Wright Davis set Finney's decision as the beginning of the American women's reform movement. Starting in , abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison organized anti-slavery associations which encouraged the full participation of women.
Garrison's ideas were not welcomed by a majority of other abolitionists, and those unwilling to include women split from him to form other abolitionist societies. A few women began to gain fame as writers and speakers on the subject of abolition. In the s, Lydia Maria Child wrote to encourage women to write a will ,  and Frances Wright wrote books on women's rights and social reform.
Although these women lectured primarily on the evils of slavery, the fact that a woman was speaking in public was itself a noteworthy stand for the cause of women's rights. Ernestine Rose began lecturing in to groups of women on the subject of the "Science of Government" which included the enfranchisement of women.
In , at the urging of Garrison and Wendell Phillips , Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traveled with their husbands and a dozen other American male and female abolitionists to London for the first World's Anti-Slavery Convention , with the expectation that a motion put forward by Phillips to include women's participation in the convention would be controversial. In London, the proposal was rebuffed after a full day of debate; the women were allowed to listen from the gallery but not allowed to speak or vote.
Mott and Stanton became friends in London and on the return voyage, and together planned to organize their own convention to further the cause of women's rights, separate from abolition concerns. In in Boston, Margaret Fuller began hosting conversations, akin to French salons , among women interested in discussing the "great questions" facing their sex.
In , Fuller published The Great Lawsuit , asking women to claim themselves as self-dependent. In the s, women in America were reaching out for greater control of their lives. Husbands and fathers directed the lives of women, and many doors were closed to female participation. Women's prospects in employment were dim: they could expect only to gain a very few service-related jobs and were paid about half of what men were paid for the same work.
The experiment failed. In the fall of , Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave her first public speech, on the subject of the Temperance movement , in front of women in Seneca Falls. She wrote to her friend Elizabeth J. Neal that she moved both the audience and herself to tears, saying "I infused into my speech an Homeopathic dose of woman's rights, as I take good care to do in many private conversations. Lucretia Mott met with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Boston in , and discussed again the possibility of a woman's rights convention. In March , Garrison, the Motts, Abby Kelley Foster , Stephen Symonds Foster and others hosted an Anti-Sabbath meeting in Boston, to work toward the elimination of laws that apply only to Sunday, and to gain for the laborer more time away from toil than just one day of rest per week.
Lucretia Mott and two other women were active within the executive committee,  and Mott spoke to the assemblage. Lucretia Mott raised questions about the validity of blindly following religious and social tradition. On April 7, , in response to a citizen's petition, the New York State Assembly passed the Married Woman's Property Act, giving women the right to retain property they brought into a marriage, as well as property they acquired during the marriage.
Creditors could not seize a wife's property to pay a husband's debts. And as women have never consented to, been represented in, or recognized by this government, it is evident that in justice no allegiance can be claimed from them Our numerous and yearly petitions for this most desirable object having been disregarded, we now ask your august body, to abolish all laws which hold married women more accountable for their acts than infants, idiots, and lunatics. The General Assembly in Pennsylvania passed a similar married woman's property law a few weeks later, one which Lucretia Mott and others had championed.
These progressive state laws were seen by American women as a sign of new hope for women's rights. This universal exclusion of woman These Quakers strove for marital relationships in which men and women worked and lived in equality. They rented property from Richard P. Hunt, a wealthy Quaker and businessman. Though women Friends had since the s publicly preached, written and led, and traditional Quaker tenets held that men and women were equals, Quaker women met separately from the men to consider and decide a congregation's business.
By the s, some Hicksite Quakers determined to bring women and men together in their business meetings as an expression of their spiritual equality. The Progressive Friends intended to further elevate the influence of women in affairs of the faith. They introduced joint business meetings of men and women, giving women an equal voice. Lucretia and James Mott visited central and western New York in the summer of for a number of reasons, including visiting the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation and former slaves living in the province of Ontario, Canada.
Mott was present at the meeting in which the Progressive Friends left the Hicksite Quakers. Lucretia Mott's skill and fame as an orator drew crowds wherever she went. Over tea, Stanton, the only non-Quaker present, vented a lifetime's worth of pent-up frustration, her "long-accumulating discontent"  about women's subservient place in society.
The five women decided to hold a women's rights convention in the immediate future, while the Motts were still in the area,  and drew up an announcement to run in the Seneca County Courier. Built by a congregation of abolitionists and financed in part by Richard Hunt,  the chapel had been the scene of many reform lectures, and was considered the only large building in the area that would open its doors to a women's rights convention. At their home in Waterloo on Sunday, July 16, the M'Clintocks hosted a smaller planning session for the convention.
Each woman made certain her concerns were appropriately represented among the ten resolutions that they composed. The Declaration of Sentiments was then drafted in the parlor on a round, three-legged, mahogany tea table.
The Seneca Falls Convention was the first women's rights convention in the United States. Held in July in Seneca Falls, New York, the meeting launched the. Originally known as the Woman's Rights Convention, the Seneca Falls Stanton and African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave. Like many amazing stories, the history of the Women's Rights Movement began with a small when they daringly agreed to convene the world's first Women's Rights Convention. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. spelled out what was the status quo for European-American women in America.
Between July 16 and July 19, at home on her own writing desk, Stanton edited the grievances and resolutions. Henry Brewster Stanton , a lawyer, politician and Stanton's husband, helped substantiate the document by locating "extracts from laws bearing unjustly against woman's property interests. When he saw the addition of woman suffrage, Henry Stanton warned his wife "you will turn the proceedings into a farce. Because he intended to run for elective office, he left Seneca Falls to avoid being connected with a convention promoting such an unpopular cause.
On July 16, Lucretia Mott sent a note to Stanton apologizing in advance for James Mott not being able to attend the first day, as he was feeling "quite unwell". On July 19, , the morning of the first day of convention, the organizing committee arrived at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel shortly before ten o'clock on a hot, sunny day to find a crowd gathered outside and the church doors locked—an overlooked detail. Even though the first session had been announced as being exclusively for women, some young children of both sexes had been brought by their mothers, and about 40 men were there expecting to attend.
The men were not turned away, but were asked to remain silent. Mary Ann M'Clintock, Jr. Starting at 11 o'clock, Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke first, exhorting each woman in the audience to accept responsibility for her own life, and to "understand the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth of her own degradation. Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments in its entirety, then re-read each paragraph so that it could be discussed at length, and changes incorporated.
Ida B. Government Printing Office, And Susan B. Moreover, they insisted, the failure to extend the vote to women might impede their participation in the war effort just when they were most needed to play a greater role as workers and volunteers outside the home. The eleven resolutions -- including the one that Stanton had added late, proposing that women get the vote -- were debated.
The question of whether men's signatures would be sought for the Declaration was discussed, with the vote looking favorable for including men, but the motion was tabled until the following day when men themselves could participate. The Declaration of Sentiments was read again and more changes were made to it.
The resolutions, now numbering eleven with Stanton's addition of women's suffrage, were read aloud and discussed. Lucretia Mott read a humorous newspaper piece written by her sister Martha Wright in which Wright questioned why, after an overworked mother completed the myriad daily tasks that were required of her but not of her husband, she was the one upon whom written advice was "so lavishly bestowed. M'Clintock then delivered a speech, and the first day's business was called to a close.
In the evening, the meeting was opened to all persons, and Lucretia Mott addressed a large audience.
She asked the men present to help women gain the equality they deserved. A larger crowd attended on the second day, including more men. Amelia Bloomer arrived late and took a seat in the upstairs gallery, there being none left in the main seating area.
Quaker James Mott was well enough to attend, and he chaired the morning meeting; it was still too radical a concept that a woman serve as chair in front of both men and women. After Mott opened the meeting, the minutes of the previous day were read, and Stanton presented the Declaration of Sentiments. In regard to the grievance "He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns," Assemblyman Ansel Bascom stood to say that he had recently been at the New York State Assembly which passed the Married Woman's Property Act. Bascom spoke at length about the property rights it secured for married women, including property acquired after marriage.
One hundred of the  present signed the Declaration of Sentiments, including 68 women and 32 men. At the afternoon session, the eleven resolutions were read again, and each one was voted on individually. The only one that was materially questioned was the ninth, the one Stanton had added regarding women's right to vote. It read:. Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. Those who opposed this resolution argued that its presence would cause the other, more rational resolutions to lose support.
Douglass projected that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere. Quaker Thomas M'Clintock served as chair for the evening session, opening it at half-past seven. Douglass again rose to speak in support of the cause of woman.
M'Clintock and Stanton serving. Local newspapers printed reports of the convention, some positive, others not. The National Reformer reported that the convention "forms an era in the progress of the age; it being the first convention of the kind ever held, and one whose influence shall not cease until woman is guaranteed all the rights now enjoyed by the other half of creation—Social, Civil and POLITICAL. If our ladies will insist on voting and legislating, where, gentleman, will be our dinners and our elbows?
Where our domestic firesides and the holes in our stockings? Soon, newspapers across the country picked up the story. Reactions varied widely. In Massachusetts, the Lowell Courier published its opinion that, with women's equality, "the lords must wash the dishes, scour up, be put to the tub, handle the broom, darn stockings.
Louis, Missouri, the Daily Reveille trumpeted that "the flag of independence has been hoisted for the second time on this side of the Atlantic.
However unwise and mistaken the demand, it is but the assertion of a natural right, and such must be conceded. Some of the ministers heading congregations in the area attended the Seneca Falls Convention, but none spoke out during the sessions, not even when comments from the floor were invited. On Sunday, July 23, many who had attended, and more who had not, attacked the Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and the resolutions.