Women's Rights Movement
By: Sophie Henneman
Goals and Tactics
Beginning in the early 1800's, many women began wanting to branch out from their life of keeping the house and caring for the children to become more independent. Prior to the Women's Rights movement, many people believed a women's place was in the home. This was known as the "Cult of True Womanhood," which was a theory developed in Britain that a "true" woman was a wife who was a mother that was only concerned with the home. This idea was not the case anymore, and women wanted voting rights, an education, jobs, and equality in general. These ideas of a new womanhood especially began emerging during the Jacksonian era, because many north businessmen were pushing towards abolitionism, and women were exposed to these politics. This was a beginning factor to the Women's Rights Movement. Also, 1820 initiated an industrial revolution, where factories were created to do the jobs women previously did at home.
In 1848, a group of mostly abolitionist women, but some men, gathered in Seneca Falls NY to discuss problems with women's rights. At this convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was created and signed by 68 women and 32 men. This declaration established 12 main resolutions for the fair treatment of men and women under the law. These included equality in education, property, voting and many other issues. The main resolution that was the goal of this document was to establish an amendment to the constitution that altered rights for women. After the convention, the movement spread very quickly and more conventions were held throughout the country in the 1850's. However, this activity was mostly in the North and West before the Civil War.
Lucretia Mott was also a dominant figure in the Seneca Falls Convention. Although Elizabeth Cady Stanton is usually most credited with women's suffrage rights, Mott's mentoring of Stanton and their working together helped inspire the event.
Amelia Bloomer became the editor of the first newspaper for women, The Lily, in 1849. She lived in Seneca Falls, NY, and was greatly influenced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She argued that the tight clothing women wore, such as corsets, was unhealthy and restrictive.
Catherine Beecher was a huge advocate for women's education. In 1823, she opened the Hartford Female Seminary, where she taught until 1832. She then moved to the west and continued to advocate for women's education. She was instrumental in the founding of women's colleges all over the country.
Women believed they had the right to vote for many reasons, as shown in this political poster.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the most influential leaders of the Women's Rights Movement.
This picture shows how the Declaration of Sentiments had some basis on the Declaration of Independence.