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Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York


"The first event engraved on my memory was the birth of a sister when I was four years old... I heard so many friends remark, "What a pity it is she's a girl!"... I did not understand at that time that girls were considered an inferior order of beings."

-Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and More

Elizabeth Cady was born in 1815. She had been the middle child of thirteen children. She had attended the Troy Female Seminary and graduated in the 1830's.

It was in 1840 that Elizabeth Cady met and married Henry B. Stanton, who was an abolitionist. It was in this year that the World Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London. Delegates from the United States and Britain attended, which also included the newly-wed Stantons.

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The London Convention was closed to women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other British and American women including Lucretia Mott (who was also an American abolitionist) were forced to sit in the balcony at the Convention. Both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were disgusted and vowed that they would hold an independent conference in the US at some time in the future.

In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott met up again. Mott had been in Seneca Falls, Ohio visiting a cousin. They met there and consequently planned a "gathering" (or as it turned out to be, a Convention) in a weeks time. Several other women helped plan the Convention such as Martha White, Jane Hunt and Mary McCormick.

Stanton wrote a Declaration of Sentiments that was based on the Declaration of Independence. In the phrases that had read, "all men are created equal" she replaced it to say, "all men and women are created equal." Likewise, where it said that "King George" was named as the source of all ills, she wrote "all men." This event marked the beginning of the Women's Rights Movement, which lasted officially until an internal conflict in the movement caused a split in 1869. Though the Convention was a success, no women of color were in attendance.

Following the Convention in the 1850's, Stanton continued to do work on behalf of women's rights and abolition. When slavery was abolished in 1865, she broke away from the abolitionists who favored voting rights for blacks, but not for women.

"It struck me as very remarkable that abolitionists, who felt so keenly the wrongs of the slave, should be so oblivious to the equal wrongs of their own mothers, wives, and sisters."

-Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and More

In 1869 Stanton also broke away from the Women's Rights Movement over the support of the 14th and 15th Amendments. She joined together with Susan B. Anthony and formed a new group called the National Women's Suffrage Association, where she was the president for twenty-one years. It was in 1878 that Stanton persuaded a Senator named Aaron A. Sargent of California, to sponsor a Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution. This Amendment was introduced every year until it was finally approved in 1920 and became the 19th Amendment. This unfortunately was eighteen years after Stanton's death, who had passed away in 1902 before seeing that her work had not been done in vain.


Greenspan, Karen. Timetable of Women's History: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in Women's History. (New York; Simon and Schuster, 1994).

Mc Fadden, Margaret (ed.). Ready Reference: Women's Issues:, Volume 3, (Salem Press Inc., 1997).

Terney, Helen. Women's Studies Encyclopedia, Volume 3: History, Philosophy and Religion, (Greenwood Press, 1991).

Edited by: Eudora M. Fay
Researched by: Allyson C. Mauck
Written by: Allyson C. Mauck

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