What Was the Purpose of the Seneca Falls Convention?

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The Seneca Falls Convention in New York was established by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott in 1848 to discuss injustices against women and increase support for women's rights. Stanton drafted and read a treatise known as the "Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances," which petitioned for equal rights for women in education, voting, legal process and other privileges.

The Seneca Convention is viewed as the launching point for the women's suffrage movement in the United States. The convention was held at Wesleyan Chapel and was only open to women on the first day. The Declaration of Sentiments mirrored the language of the Declaration of Independence, including a preamble proclaiming that "all men and women are created equal." It was signed by 68 women and 32 men.

The convention organizers presented a series of speeches urging the assembly to pass several resolutions discussing the position of women in American society and their right to pursue political endeavors. For example, the second resolution declared that it was unlawful and against nature to limit women's social positions and to consider them universally inferior to men. The 11th resolution stated that women were equally capable of understanding morality and delivering religious instruction.

The ninth resolution was highly controversial because it proposed women's rights to political enfranchisement, including voting. The resolution was reluctantly passed by many of the attendees after gaining support from influential proponents, such as abolitionist Frederick Douglass.