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like a closed door margaret Women's Rights Movement 1848-1998

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." That was Margaret Mead's conclusion after a lifetime of observing very diverse cultures around the world. Her insight has been borne out time and again throughout the development of this country of ours. Being allowed to live life in an atmosphere of religious freedom, having a voice in the government you support with your taxes, living free of lifelong enslavement by another person. These beliefs about how life should and must be lived were once considered outlandish by many. But these beliefs were fervently held by visionaries whose steadfast work brought about changed minds and attitudes. Now these beliefs are commonly shared across U.S. society.

Another initially outlandish idea that has come to pass: United States citizenship for women. 1998 marks the 150th Anniversary of a movement by women to achieve full civil rights in this country. Over the past seven generations, dramatic social and legal changes have been accomplished that are now so accepted that they go unnoticed by people whose lives they have utterly changed. Many people who have lived through the recent decades of this process have come to accept blithely what has transpired. And younger people, for the most part, can hardly believe life was ever otherwise. They take the changes completely in stride, as how life has always been.

The staggering changes for women that have come about over those seven generations in family life, in religion, in government, in employment, in education - these changes did not just happen spontaneously. Women themselves made these changes happen, very deliberately. Women have not been the passive recipients of miraculous changes in laws and human nature. Seven generations of women have come together to affect these changes in the most democratic ways: through meetings, petition drives, lobbying, public speaking, and nonviolent resistance. They have worked very deliberately to create a better world, and they have succeeded hugely.

Throughout 1998, the 150th anniversary of the Women's Rights Movement is being celebrated across the nation with programs and events taking every form imaginable. Like many amazing stories, the history of the Women's Rights Movement began with a small group of people questioning why human lives were being unfairly constricted.

A Tea Launches a Revolution
The Women's Rights Movement marks July 13, 1848 as its beginning. On that sweltering summer day in upstate New York, a young housewife and mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was invited to tea with four women friends. When the course of their conversation turned to the situation of women, Stanton poured out her discontent with the limitations placed on her own situation under America's new democracy. Hadn't the American Revolution had been fought just 70 years earlier to win the patriots freedom from tyranny? But women had not gained freedom even though they'd taken equally tremendous risks through those dangerous years. Surely the new republic would benefit from having its women play more active roles throughout society. Stanton's friends agreed with her, passionately. This was definitely not the first small group of women to have such a conversation, but it was the first to plan and carry out a specific, large-scale program.

Today we are living the legacy of this afternoon conversation among women friends. Throughout 1998, events celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Women's Rights Movement are looking at the massive changes these women set in motion when they daringly agreed to convene the world's first Women's Rights Convention.

Within two days of their afternoon tea together, this small group had picked a date for their convention, found a suitable location, and placed a small announcement in the Seneca County Courier. They called "A convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman." The gathering would take place at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls on July 19 and 20, 1848.
In the history of western civilization, no similar public meeting had ever been called.

A "Declaration of Sentiments" is Drafted
These were patriotic women, sharing the ideal of improving the new republic. They saw their mission as helping the republic keep its promise of better, more egalitarian lives ... more

like a closed door margaret

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The Womens Rights Movement 1848-1998

Jessica Holman
Mr. Fox / Ms. Brown
English / History
First Semester Junior Report

The Womens Rights Movement 1848-1998

The Womens Rights Movement was and continues to be
one of the most incredible and inspirational series of events to
occur in United States history.  One of the more credible aspects
of these events happens to be the bold, intelligent pioneers that
paved the way for many other women throughout the United
States to follow.  An important battle fought for was womens
suffrage, and in fighting for this worthy cause, various smaller
battles were also fought.

This great movement would have never occurred if the
few brave women, that felt that women were ultimately being
treated unfairly by the government would not have taken a
stand. These women were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.
Anthony, and Lucretia Coffin Mott.  Without their motivation to
conduct and follow through with the actions that needed to be
taken in order to give women the equal rights they were
entitled to as American citizens.  When these bold women took
a stand and made themselves heard, they encouraged hordes
of women to participate in their stand for equality.  Though
countless women fought the many battles for womens rights
only a handful stand out in peoples memories.                                  

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in 1815 and died in 1902.
During the eighty-seven years of her life she accomplished
many goals and over came numerous obstacles.  Elizabeth
attended Emma Willards School in Troy where she obtained her
education to the fullest extent possible for girls in those days.
She was a suffragist and Quaker abolitionist.  In 1840 she was
chosen as a delegate to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in
London, but was banned because women were not aloud to
vote.  The year 1848 was a tremendous year for Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, for this was the year that the first Womens Rights
Convention was ever held.  It was put on by Elizabeth with the
aid of a few close friends that shared her opinion and beliefs of
how women were treated.  Though Elizabeth was busy working
towards her goals within the movement she still found time to be
a full-time wife and mother of many children.  Elizabeth Cady
Stanton lived her life to the fullest, working towards her dreams
and aspirations that would benefit women everywhere.  She
worked a long and hard fifty years to help women achieve the
vote and other equal benefits.


Lucretia Coffin Mott
Lucretia Coffin Mott was born in 1793 and died in 1880.
Lucretia was educated at Nine Partners, a Quaker boarding                                          
school near Poughkeepsie, New York.  She married James Mott,
who had been a teacher at that school.  Lucretia was an
American abolitionist and feminist.  In 1817 she became
involved in the Society of Friends, and in 1827, the society split
into two parts; she and her husband joined the group called the
Hicksites, which was a liberal function led by Elias Hicks.
Together Lucretia and her husband helped organize the
American Antislavery Society in 1833.  They were both
delegates to an International Anti-slavery Convention in
London, in 1840.  Unfortunately, Lucretia was excluded because
of her sex.  So she devoted most of her time and energy in
helping provide equal rights for women.  She was one of
Elizabeths friends who helped organize the first Womens Rights
Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.

Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 and died eighty-six
years later in 1906.  Susan was, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a
Quaker abolitionist and suffragist.  She was also the first to
realize that signatures on a petition were necessary in order to
get the men in government to hear the grievances of women.
After figuring out this useful fact she and her captains went out
to collect as many signatures on as many petitions as possible.
In 1854 Susan and her captains took the petitions to the New
York legislature, gaining women the right to own their own
property.  However, seventy-two years later, the 19th
Amendment, in 1920, gave women the right to vote.  It is now
called the Anthony Amendment.

Womens Suffrage
The battle for Womens Suffrage began one afternoon,
July 13, 1848 to be exact, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton was
invited to have tea with a few of her friends, one of them being
Lucretia Mott.  During their tea the conversation turned to the
situation of women, Elizabeth poured out her discontent with
the restrictions on women under Americas new democracy.
The American Revolution had been fought just seventy years
earlier to win the patriots freedom from tyranny.  But women
had not ... more

like a closed door margaret

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