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Declaration of Sentiments – July 1848

In 1848, a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious conditions and rights of women was convened in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention was organized and run by women who later became influential in the women’s suffrage movement. In the Declaration of Sentiments, the organizers demanded government reform and changes in male roles and behaviors that promoted inequality for women.Continue Reading »

Solitude of Self: An Address by E.C. Stanton January, 1892

Shakespeare’s play of Titus and Andronicus contains a terrible satire on woman’s position in the nineteenth century–“Rude men” (the play tells us) “seized the king’s daughter, cut out her tongue, cut off her hands, and then bade her go call for water and wash her hands.” What a picture of woman’s position. Robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection.Continue Reading »

One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview

Suffrage is the right or privilege of voting and is frequently incorporated among the rights of citizenship. However, just as not all people in the United States are necessarily granted the privilege of citizenship, not all U.S. citizens have been uniformly endowed with the right to vote. Given the property laws and economic status of citizens at that time, these restrictions meant that most women and persons of color could not vote, and only about “half of the adult white men in the United States were eligible to vote in 1787.”With so few rights, many women drew parallels between their social and political state and that of slaves. This entry notes the dates and events that eventually resulted in the 19th Amendment. Continue Reading »

Kelley, Abby

Abigail (Abby) Kelley was an influential Quaker anti-slavery reformer and a women rights activist who provided inspiration and courage to the women who organized the 1848 Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. Her activism in Seneca Falls led to the formation of the Wesleyan Methodist Congregation with their public anti-slavery stance and free speech commitment.Continue Reading »

Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice (1820-1905)

Mary Livermore was born on December 19, 1820, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was an American suffragist and social reformer who lectured and wrote for religious and reform periodicals. She served as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association, the Association for the Advancement of Women and the Massachusetts Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Livermore died in 1905.Continue Reading »

Foster, Abigail Kelley – (1811-1887)

Abby Kelley spoke at the 1838 Anti-Slavery Convention in Philadelphia, breaking the cultural rules of her time by addressing a mixed audience of men and women. The meeting was highly controversial, and after it ended, protestors burned the newly built facility to the ground. Two years later, at the 1840 American Anti-Slavery Society’s annual meeting, she broke another cultural rule and effectively split the anti-slavery movement by asserting woman’s equality. Male abolitionists demonstrated their conservatism on women’s rights: when William Lloyd Garrison appointed Kelley to the society business committee, about half of the members resigned and formed their own rival group .Continue Reading »

Dickinson, Anna (1842-1932)

Anna Dickenson began her activism even earlier, when she was thirteen years old, by writing an essay for William Lloyd Garrison’s famed newspaper, The Liberator. She also was friendly with Lucretia Mott, who preached against slavery in Quaker meetinghouses for decades. Unlike others of the era’s religions, Quakers encouraged women to speak in public, and under Mott’s leadership, some eight hundred Philadelphians bought tickets for Dickinson’s first major speech early in 1861, “The Rights and Wrongs of Women.”Continue Reading »

Garrett, Mary Elizabeth (1854 – 1915)

Mary Garrett and the “Friday Evening” group next turned their attention on ways to provide opportunities for women at the Johns Hopkins University. The women of the “Friday Evening” formed the Women’s Medical School Fund Committee in response to a nation-wide appeal for philanthropic assistance initiated by University president D.C. Gilman. Proposing to raise $100,000 for the endowment of the medical school if the trustees would agree to admit women on the same terms as men, the committee embarked upon a major public relations effort to promote medical education for women. When they finished, the Johns Hopkins University—and medical education in the United States—would never be the same.Continue Reading »

Willard, Frances Elizabeth Caroline (1839-1898)

Frances Willard promoted the cause of women and reform as a pioneer educator and especially as the most prominent leader of the nineteenth century movement to end alcohol abuse.

One of the most influential women of the nineteenth century, Frances Willard’s name is inseparable from that of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), but her life embodied little of the conservatism that came to be associated with the WCTU after her death.Continue Reading »

Howe, Julia Ward (1819 – 1910)

Julia Ward Howe was inspired to write “ The Battle Hymn of the Republic” after she and her husband visited Washington, D.C. and met Abraham Lincoln at the White House in November 1861. During the trip, her friend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song “John Brown’s Body,” which she did on November 19.‪ The song was set to William Steffe’s already-existing music and Howe’s version was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War.Continue Reading »

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