A Series on Suffrage by past president Phyllis Vogel

Editor’s Note: Past president Phyllis Vogel has promised an article per month about the history of women’s suffrage in the U.S. We look forward to more!

We are embarking on an exploration and exposition of the Women’s Suffrage movement; how it was formed, where it was formed and who was significant in the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the republic’s franchise, the right to vote.

The Women’s Movement grew out of the Abolition Movement in the early 1800’s. Women were excluded from participation in the World’s Anti-slavery Convention in London in 1847. Outraged, they met and organized the First Women’s Rights Convention held the following year in Wesley Chapel at Seneca Falls in upstate New York.

One of the organizers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was an eloquent writer and daughter of a prominent lawyer who always wished for a son. Married to an Abolitionist, Henry Stanton, Elizabeth was not allowed to attend the Anti-Slavery Convention. She began the Women’s Rights Convention with a speech on its goals and purposes. Stanton presided over the Movement for the next twenty years. She continued to work and write for women’s rights while bearing and rearing seven children.

Stanton authored the Declaration of Sentiments modelling it after the Declaration of Independence. Lucretia Motts and others joined her to set the agenda at that First Women’s Rights Convention. They argued that both genders are endowed with unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Twelve resolutions relating to women’s rights were passed. Interestingly, the only one most controversial was the one calling for women’s suffrage.

Lucretia Mott, a Quaker and prominent in Anti-Slavery Movement from Boston, took up the cause of women’s rights after also being rebuffed at the World S Anti-Slavery Convention. She wrote articles and lectured widely. A fluent and moving speaker, Mott retained her poise before the most hostile audiences.

More on these and other intrepid founding feminists next time.