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The Women's Rights Movement 1848 1920 Essay

1363 words - 5 pages

The Women’s Rights Movement was a long and persistent battle fought by many brave female advocates that came before us such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony. These women selflessly dedicated their lives to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which forever changed the lives of womankind in America. Prior to their efforts, the United States was still in shambles over the Civil War and spent most of its focus on rebuilding the country and securing rights to African American men. Several activists resented the fact that women were not included in this effort and took matters into their own hands.
The first meeting solely dedicated to women’s rights was the Seneca Falls Convention on July 19-20, 1848 and was led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The convention attracted nearly one hundred people, in which two-thirds of those in attendance were women. It was here that the Women’s Rights Movement was born. Elizabeth Stanton created the “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances and Resolutions” which mimicked the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence. She wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal” ("Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony—."). From this point on women addressed their limited rights in society and the barriers holding them back. The Seneca Falls Convention served as a breeding ground for female activists to come together and fight theses social and economic issues.
Although many women came together in the fight for women’s suffrage, they didn’t always agree on the course of action to get there. Initially, Elizabeth Stanton and Massachusetts teacher, Susan B. Anthony, started the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), which focused its efforts on national reform. The NWSA opposed the 15th Amendment because it excluded women and their mission was to get a federal law in place that allowed women’s suffrage to women across the entire nation. Additionally, antislavery advocate and women’s suffrage lobbyist, Lucy Stone, started the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which believed in reform at the state level. The AWSA was larger and more financially secure than the NWSA, however, they did not have the national support that their adversary had.
Yet, one thing that both groups had in common was their struggle to gain supporters and spread influence. During the early years of the 1880’s, the women in both groups had a very hard time attracting women, male politicians and voters to adapt the cause ("The Women's Rights Movement, 1848–1920."). In fact, organizations began popping up that opposed the women’s suffrage efforts and many of those factions were made up of women. The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) in New York City was just one of many of these antisuffrage parties that believed that women were more helpful to their communities if they did not participate in voting rights (“ANTI-SUFFRAGE...

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