The Woman's Rights Movement

   The American Woman's Rights movement grew out of abolitionism in direct but complex ways. The movement's early leaders began their fight for social justice with the cause of the slaves, and learned from Anti-Slavery Societies how to organize, publicize and articulate a political protest. It wasn't long, however, before they also learned that many of the men who were opposed to slavery were also opposed to women playing active roles or taking speaking parts in abolitionist movement. The attempt to silence women at Anti-Slavery Conventions in the United States and England led directly to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's and Lucretia Mott's decision to hold the first Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y, in June 1848. One of the articles of belief proclaimed at that and subsequent conventions was that women were in some sense slaves too.
   The texts below are taken from The History of Woman Suffrage, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Gage: Vol. I: 1835-1860 (New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881). In a passage from this book included in the ARTICLES section of the archive, Uncle Tom's Cabin is cited as one reason for the early strength of the Woman's Movement in Ohio, but Stowe always rejected its central demand for the vote. And while Uncle Tom's Cabin is very much about women and slaves, its relation to the premises and project of the Woman's Movement in America is by no means clear.

Illustration from History of Woman Suffrage

Illustration from History of Woman Suffrage
  • Seneca Falls Declaration & Resolutions (1848)
  • Resolutions at Rochester (1848)
  • Newspaper Responses (1848)
  • Stanton Answers Newspaper Critics (1848)
  • Frederick Douglass's Editorial (1848)
  • Emily Collins' Memoir
          from History of Woman Suffrage (1881)
  • Abolitionism & the Woman's Suffrage Movement
          from History of Woman Suffrage (1881)

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