Women's Rights (1830s - 1850s)

Throughout history, women have always had a strong impact on society; however, before this time, they hadn't had a strong influence in politics and their futures. In the Declaration of Independence, our "certain unalienable rights" are given specifically to men, and not women. Many female leaders of the suffrage movement believed that "all men and women are created equal", adding "women" to the popular quote. In 1838, Kentucky allowed widows to vote in school elections, as long as they didn't have any children enrolled. This showed how states were beginning to give women more rights, even though they were still very limited. Large numbers of women began taking part in the anti-slavery movement. This led them to discover that they were viewed as second class citizens to men, who's voices were much more  valued and acknowledged. In 1850, the first national women's convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts. This convention was held annually through 1860. As the years went on, woman furthered their fight for equality.

This shows a young woman being educated by what seems to be her father. Young women at this time were moving towards gaining a better education.

The photograph seen here is of Abby Kelley Foster. She was part of an alliance of abolitionaists that was formed at the National Women's Rights Convention in the 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts.  

The Declaration of Sentimants written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a document signed by the attendeis of the first Women's Rights Convention in Senica Falls, New York. It stated that the women of the time wanted equality and to be rid of "miss representation and ridicule".

What else...

During the 1800s women were expected to be subservient to their male counterparts. They were not given the rights of a full citizen of the United States. Through the time between 1750 and 1850 women were required to work in the same jobs as men to make sure their family and/or farm survived. They were also expected to raise a family and keep a home for their husbands just as they had before they had to work outside the home. However, women weren’t treated the same as men, they received less pay for the same jobs, weren’t allowed to vote and weren’t granted a full education. During the 1830’s the Jacksonian movement swept through the US spreading a grander idea of equality for everyone. This lead to people like Emma Willard, Catherine E. Beecher, Zilpah P. Grant, Mary Lyon, and Josheph Emerson taking drastic steps to better the lives of women and to ultimately open up new rights to the women of the United States. Emma Willard, one of the most influential women in the movement, addressed the New York State Legislature in 1819 to address the fact that women weren’t receiving a sufficient education. She also founded schools and traveled around the world to promote women’s education. Also in 1848 the “Declaration of Sentiments”, was drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was adopted at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention.  One of the most prominent effects of the movement was the formation of Women’s Labor Unions, the ability for women to vote and women being granted the right to divorce their husbands. The long-term effects of the movement were women being able to keep their wages, vote, and file for divorce. Also, the women in the United Kingdom were inspired by the American movement and started their national movement in 1872. This movement had similar effects. These are the main effects of the movement that the women of the time called for. 


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