1848 Seneca Falls Convention
The Seneca Falls Convention was an early and influential women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, July 20, 1848. It was organized by local New York women upon the occasion of a visit by Philadelphia-based Lucretia Mott, a Quaker famous for her speaking ability, a skill rarely cultivated by American women at the time. The local women, primarily members of a radical Quaker group, organized the meeting along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a skeptical non-Quaker who followed logic more than religion.
The convention drew up a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, which opened with the phrase “All men and women are created equal.” It named 15 specific inequities suffered by women, and after detailing “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of men toward woman,” the document concluded that “he has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.”
The Declaration of Sentiments contained several resolutions including that a man should not withhold a woman's rights, take her property or refuse to allow her to vote. The 300 participants spent July 19th and 20th arguing, refining and voting on the Declaration. Most of the resolutions received unanimous support. However, the right to vote had many dissenters including one very prominent figure, Lucretia Mott.
1848 Years of Revolution
The year 1848 was a "year of revolutions." Besides the Seneca Falls Convention, New York State passed the first Married Woman's Property Act. Anesthesia was used in childbirth for the first time despite the clergy claiming that women and doctors were ignoring the decree of God who said, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." A new political party, the Free Soil Party, was formed. Its slogan of "Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men." reflected the idealism of the times.
Other Stuff also in 1840s
In 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first American woman to receive a degree in medicine. A number of women became active as revivalists. Perhaps the most notable was Phoebe Palmer, a Methodist preacher who ignited religious fervor among thousands of Americans and Canadians.