Women In History: The Seneca Falls Convention

Celebrating Women's History Month in Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania!

By Siena Schaller, Junior Reporter for Macaroni Kid Fredericksburg March 2, 2023

March is National Women’s History Month! To celebrate, each week, an article about historical events and figures in women’s history will be released! The first is about the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s convention held to advocate for their rights.

In the 1830s, many women began to speak out against the lack of women’s rights concerning moral and political issues. Over time, more women were becoming frustrated with the lack of rights they had. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of these women. Her frustration led to the very first women’s convention.

This convention was held on July 19-20, 1848. Because it was held in Seneca Falls, New York, it is now known as the Seneca Falls Convention. Here, many historical women met to fight for their social, civil, and religious rights. These women include:

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton - A driving organizer of the convention who was a major advocate for women’s rights. She would later join Susan B. Anthony to advocate for women’s suffrage, co-edit the newspaper for women’s rights, and found the National Woman's Suffrage Association. 

  • Lucretia Mott - A social reformer who was mostly known for her advocacy to end slavery, for women’s rights, and religious reform. 

  • Mary M’Clintock - The secretary of the convention who also took part in anti-slavery, women’s rights, and temperance activism.

  • Martha Coffin Wright - A major feminist who joined her sister, Lucretia Mott, to advocate for women’s rights. She was also an abolitionist who ran a station on the Underground Railroad.
  • Jane Hunt - A huge supporter of human rights causes, including women’s rights. 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments, which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence. It begins with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal,” and references many of Thomas Jefferson’s principles, but explains that they were created exclusively for men. It asserted that women should gain equality in areas such as politics, education, jobs, and religion. The Declaration ended with 11 resolutions to solve the inequalities. The 9th resolution called for extending the right to vote to women, which caused a lot of controversy. At the end of the convention, it was signed by 68 women and 32 men. 

This historical event marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement. More and more people were joining the movement and events were held to further campaign for voting rights. In 1920, 72 years after the convention, women were finally granted the right to vote with the 19th amendment. While this was a huge accomplishment for women advocates, it was clear that much work was still needed for women to achieve a level of equality.