The First Women’s Rights Convention

DIRECTIONS

1 In 1848, a convention of historic importance took place in Seneca Falls, New York. The small town was the site of the first women’s rights convention. At the convention, people voted on a series of proposals. One of them was that women should have the right to vote. Many people at that time were opposed to this idea. But the convention helped build support for women’s voting rights, which eventually became the law of the land.

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2 The idea for the convention began eight years earlier. In 1840, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were among a group of women who went to London to attend the World Anti-Slavery Convention. Once there, they were kept out of the conference because they were women. So, the group decided to meet on their own. Stanton and Mott agreed that another convention should be held. That convention would address women’s rights. Eight years passed before the two women achieved this goal. In 1848, Mott was visiting her sister near Seneca Falls. Stanton was living there at the time. Mott and Stanton met again. With three other women, they agreed to plan a convention. Its purpose would be “to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women.”

3 Stanton agreed to write a Declaration of Sentiments. It would be the basis for discussion at the meeting. She modeled her document on the Declaration of Independence. That document said that “all men are created equal.” Stanton wrote that “all men and women are created equal.” She then listed eighteen injustices against women. The Declaration of Independence aimed the same number of charges at England’s king. Stanton also wrote eleven resolutions. They pointed to areas where action should be taken to correct injustices against women. The ninth resolution proposed that women should have the right to vote.

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