The Seneca Falls Convention Of 1848 And Its Far Reaching Effects

1209 words - 5 pages

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object

evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off

such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the

patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity

which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled." (DOS)

In 1848, a convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York promoting the rights of

women. Believing they were subject to 'a long train of abuses and usurpations,' hundreds

of women gathered to hear Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founding suffragettes, read

the Declaration of Sentiments. Modeled after the United State's Declaration of

Independence, Stanton and other influential suffragettes constructed 'Sentiments' to

announce their intentions to 'demand the equal station to which they were entitled.' (DOS)

In 1848, a convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York promoting the rights of

women. Believing they were subject to 'a long train of abuses and usurpations,' hundreds

of women gathered to hear Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founding suffragettes, read

the Declaration of Sentiments. Modeled after the United State's Declaration of

Independence, Stanton and other influential suffragettes constructed 'Sentiments' to

announce their intentions to 'demand the equal station to which they were entitled.' (DOS)

Their initial goal of equality has spiraled into a movement we now call feminism.

"Sentiments" happened to be a very detailed document, in which women wanted

merely one thing: enfranchisement. What is enfranchisement? Merriam Webster defines

it as: to be admitted the rights of a citizen. (m-w.com) In short, women wanted equality

with men. Although meant to be comedic, the show-tune 'Sister Suffragette' from the

musical Mary Poppins gives a candid view of the mindset of the mid 19th century

woman: "From Kensington to Billingsgate, One hears the restless cries! From ev'ry

corner of the land: Womankind, arise! Political equality and equal rights with men! No

more the meek and mild subservients we! We're fighting for our rights, militantly!"

(Sister Suffragette) No longer willing to serve her family and husband, the 19th century

woman latched onto an idea of equality and began complaining about her position. In

fact, "Sentiments" documents more than 15 formal complaints, including the fact that

women cannot: vote, have representation within congress, practice rights, or keep wages.

She has become a slave to her husband, deprived of education, and if not the most

important, her happiness has been disregarded. Falling far from the biblical view of a

woman's position, the desire for enfranchisement did more harm than good. (DOS)

First and foremost, enfranchisement severed the biblical view of...

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