Throughout the history of the world women have often been subjected to fewer rights and to a lower social class than that of men. In most societies the traditional role of the woman was the role of wife, mother, and caretaker. Women endured this type of prejudiced behavior since the dawn of time until the first women’s movements began to develop during the 1800’s in the United States and Europe. These women’s movements are often referred to as feminist movements or feminism. The development of feminism in the 1800’s was a very crucial part of history because women began the long road of gaining women’s rights with the Seneca Falls Convention, the founding of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and the first National Women’s Rights Convention. Feminism is defined as the belief that women should have economic, political, and social equality with men. “Feminists challenge traditional gender roles and demand increased educational and employment opportunities” (Gustafson). Feminism began in response to The Enlightenment and the industrialization of society. The start of industrialization caused significant changes in the economy and politics, and these changes triggered women to question their roles and status within society. Women wished to no longer be treated as though they were inferior to men. The feminism acts of the nineteenth century are often referred to as the first wave of feminism. The first wave of feminism predominately focused on equal contract, marriage, parenting, voting, and property rights for women. One of the first steps towards equality for women was the Seneca Falls Convention. The Seneca Falls Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York, was the first women’s rights convention ever held in the United States. This historical convention was the beginning of the development of feminism in the United States of American. The convention was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott who came up with the idea after unjustly being banished from a convention floor at an Anti-Slavery convention in London. The two women’s anger at the bigoted behavior they had endured inspired the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott later met at Stanton’s house along with: Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt. The five women wrote an article announcing the women’s rights convention which stated: “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women”. On the nineteenth and twentieth of July, with almost 200 women in attendance both days and forty men in attendance the second day, The Seneca Falls Convention was hosted .The convention did not appear to be a big deal to many people at the time; however, it sparked a slow growing revolution for women’s rights. At the Seneca Falls Convention, a declaration titled the “Declaration of Sediments” was written. The Declaration of Sediments was modeled after the Declaration of Independence, and just as the Declaration of Independence the Declaration of Sediments declared injustices and stated that it was time for changes to occur (Crewe/Anderson 4-5). Major injustices against women listed in the Declaration of Sediments included: Lack of a voice in law, No independent right after marriage, No custody of children in case of divorce, and women’s lack of a right to vote. The Declaration of Sediments also stated: “…We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all me and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among there are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” (Rothenberg 539). The Seneca Falls Convention and The Declaration of Sediments paved the way for many women and men to fight for the equality of women. An additional milestone for the development of feminism in the nineteenth century was the formation of the National Woman American Suffrage Association. The National American Woman Suffrage Association, or NAWSA for short,...
Citations: "Seneca Falls." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
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