This report was printed soon after the Seneca Falls Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848, the first woman's rights convention of its kind to be held in the United States. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the conference. The two women had experience in social reform movements, as they were both actively involved in the American abolition movement. The Seneca Falls Convention was partly the result of Mott's being snubbed at the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840. Despite being an official delegate sent from an American antislavery organization, she and other women were refused seats on account of their sex. This discrimination motivated Mott and other activists to organize a conference about woman's rights, resulting in the Seneca Falls Convention.
The publication lists the convention attendees who signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which was closely based on the Declaration of Independence with its preamble and list of grievances. The document declares that “all men and women are created equal.” Listing the injustices to which men subjected women, the declaration asserts, “He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.” The right to vote became the main argument in the woman's rights movement in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sixty-eight women and thirty-two men signed the Declaration of Sentiments, including Stanton, Mott, her husband, James Mott, and the famous African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
1. Who came up with the idea for the Seneca Falls Convention?
2. What reform movement were Stanton and Mott involved with before the Seneca Falls Convention?
3. What famous people signed the Declaration of Sentiments?
1. Why was the Seneca Falls Convention so important to the woman's rights movement? What purposes did it and the Declaration of Sentiments serve?
2. The language in the Declaration of Independence that asserts that “all men are created equal” has spawned numerous rights movements. Discuss the intentions of the Founding Fathers in using that language and how it has been interpreted and used over the years by various groups to push for greater inclusion in American society.
This pamphlet is a part of the Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller scrapbooks in the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection at the Library of Congress. Between 1897 and 1911 Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, filled seven large scrapbooks with ephemera and memorabilia related to their work with woman suffrage.
A manuscript note on the title page of the Report reads, "I think this little book is valuable, as giving a description of the first of the first Convention of the kind that was ever held. Rhoda J. Palmer." Rhoda Palmer, who had accompanied her father to the 1848 convention, outlived both the Millers.
This copy is a rare, duodecimo first printing of the Report, which includes the proceeding, resolutions, declaration of sentiments, and a list of the signatories; note that the thirty-two men are listed as "in favor of the movement" rather than signatories to the declaration.
Enclosed with the Report are two clippings, inscribed in pen in the margin "Given to A. F. M. by Rhoda Palmer": a 1894 clipping relates a story by Col. Thomas Wigglesworth Higginson in which he says the bravest thing done during the Civil War was Dr. Thomas T. Minor's offering a toast to "Our Mothers" with a glass of water during a drinking party in Beaufort, S.C.; and a notice by Susan B. Anthony, August 19, 1852, of an October meeting of the Women's New York State Temperance Society in Seneca Falls, New York.
McMillen, Sally Gregory. Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.