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Held on July 19-20, 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, which was also the first national convention for women’s rights, marked a significant feat for the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Launched at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, this meeting advanced various rights that women fought for, including social, civil, and religious rights. It served as a stepping stone for several women’s rights conventions to take place.
See the fact file below for more information on the Seneca Falls Convention or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Seneca Falls Convention worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE CONVENTION ORGANIZERS
- The Seneca Falls Convention was organized by five women, who were also part of the abolitionist movement that fought against racial discrimination and slavery, which were very rampant in the United States. They included the following:
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was a known advocate of women’s rights. She served as the primary organizer of the convention. She received her education at Troy Female Seminary. In the 1840s, she campaigned for women’s property rights reform.
- Lucretia Mott, who was a Quaker preacher based in Philadelphia. She fought for women’s rights, anti-slavery, and religious reform.
- Mary M’Clintock, who was a famous Quaker, fighting for anti-slavery, temperance, and women’s rights. She likewise established the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, together with Mott, in 1833. She served as the secretary of the Seneca Falls Convention.
- Martha Coffin Wright, who was a women’s rights advocate and an abolitionist, running a station on the Underground Railroad in Auburn, New York. She was also Mott’s sister.
- Jane Hunt, who was also a Quaker activist. She was married to a member of the M’Clintock family.
- In 1840, Stanton and Mott met in London, while they were both attending the World Anti-Slavery Convention, where women were not allowed to participate as delegates just because of their sex. As a response, the two had the idea of holding a national convention for women’s rights.
THE CONVENTION ORGANIZERS
- Despite the lack of publicity, there were 300 people, who were mostly residents of the area, that participated in the Seneca Falls Convention.
- The meeting was composed of six sessions and ultimately resulted in approximately 100 signatures in support of women’s rights, as stated in the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. These rights included women’s right to vote, although it was contested.
- The first day of the convention was supposed to be for women delegates only, who were particularly invited, while the second day was intended for the general public.
- However, during the first day of the meeting, a male professor from Yale went climbing an open window and eventually opened the doors for the public audience.
- The first day likewise included the presentation of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, which put forward equal rights between men and women in terms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- The declaration had 18 charges against England’s King George III because of his unjust treatment of women, including unfair laws and the denial of women’s suffrage.
- The rest of the sessions were spent discussing the legal rights of women and their role in society. Incidentally, women’s right to vote had the longest debate. Delegates demanded it to be removed, but they rendered no success.
- It is said that some of those who signed the document during the convention removed their names later on due to public criticism.
THE DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS
- In July 1848, Stanton, along with other women organizers, drafted the manifesto of the Seneca Falls Convention, known as the Declaration of Sentiments.
- The declaration stated women’s grievances and demands. It campaigned for the constitutionally guaranteed right to equality of women as American citizens.
- It was likewise inspired by the Declaration of Independence. It called for various rights that should be enjoyed by women in different sectors: family, education, religion, employment, and politics.
- Furthermore, the declaration elaborated the abuses that women continued to experience, which destroy women’s power, self-respect, and their will to lead independent lives.
- The convention likewise listed 11 resolutions, which contained women’s demands for their right to equality. It challenged state laws that put women in an inferior position as compared to men. The resolutions sought to give women equal rights in terms of employment and religion, among many other things.
- Unsurprisingly, the most debated and controversial part of it was the ninth resolution, which asserted women’s suffrage or right to vote.
- Despite the withdrawal of the names of those who signed the document due to this resolution, it became the driving force of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
- The Seneca Falls Convention marked an important step in the efforts of the women’s rights movement in America. It was covered by various newspapers in New York and the rest of the country.
- On 2 August 1848, two weeks after the Seneca Falls Convention, another convention for women’s rights was held at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York, which catered to a larger audience.
- In 1851, the National Woman’s Rights Convention was also held in Worcester, Massachusetts, that eventually became an annual gathering. It went on until the American Civil War took place in 1861.
- From 1848 to 1862, the supporters and participants of the Seneca Falls Convention continued to forward women’s rights across many state events. They constantly referred to the Declaration of Sentiments as a framework for the campaign.
- After 72 years of the movement and national struggle, American women were finally allowed to participate in elections due to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in the US Constitution in 1920. Charlotte Woodward was the lone woman from the Seneca Falls Convention who was still alive to vote at the time.
Seneca Falls Convention Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Seneca Falls Convention across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Seneca Falls Convention worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Seneca Falls Convention, which was also the first national convention for women’s rights, marked a significant feat for the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Launched at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, this meeting advanced various rights that women fought for, including social, civil, and religious rights. It served as a stepping stone for several women’s rights conventions to take place.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Seneca Falls Convention Facts
- Locating Seneca
- Find the Words
- Seneca Falls Convention: Narration
- Notable Women
- Declaration of Sentiments
- Defining Suffrage
- Challenges Encountered
- Historical Significance
- Then and Now
- Seneca Falls Convention: Legacy
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