seneca-falls-meeting-1848-grangerJuly 19-20, 1848:

Women’s rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. This convention marked the beginning of an organized women’s rights movement in the U.S.

Which, obviously, was a big deal.


The main ladies who organized this were:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who had four children at the time and was from upstate NY.

Lucretia Mott, a Quaker abolitionist.


How many women attended, you ask? Well, around 100 people attended– and 2/3rds of that was women.

At the convention they talked about voting rights, property rights, and divorce (to name a few things).

Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions,” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.

In this “declaration,” Stanton also brought forth these grievances for women:

  • Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
  • Women were not allowed to vote
  • Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
  • Married women had no property rights
  • Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
  • Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
  • Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
  • Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
  • Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
  • Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
  • With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
  • Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men

While we have clearly progressed since 1848, I wonder if many women today would still see these as applicable grievances? Clearly not most of them, but some….