"Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors....Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to format a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
~Abigail Adams writing to John Adams
The suffrage movement in the United States gained prominence with the first women’s rights convention in the world: the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. The convention was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, active members of the abolitionist movement who met in England in 1840 at the World Anti-Slavery Convention.
In 1851, Stanton was introduced by a mutual friend to Susan B. Anthony, who was most active in the temperance movement at the time. The two would form a life-long friendship and collaboration focused on obtaining suffrage. They formed the Woman’s National Loyal League in 1863 to support the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery and to campaign for full citizenship for blacks and women.
The document consisted of political, social, and economic rights:
Economic: for women to be able to hold property
Social: women were allowed to speak their minds, seek higher education, and be treated equally
Political (most controversial): the right to vote
The Abolitionist Movement: Frederick Douglass
How are these two movements connected?
In the 1830s, thousands of women were involved in the movement to abolish slavery. Women wrote articles for abolitionist papers, circulated abolitionist pamphlets, and circulated, signed, and delivered petitions to Congress calling for abolition. Some women became prominent leaders in the abolition movement. Angelina Grimke and Sarah Moore Grimke became famous for making speeches to mixed (male and female) audiences about slavery. For this radical action, clergymen soundly condemned them. As a result, in addition to working for abolition, the Grimke sisters began to advocate for women’s rights.
Other women who were active in the abolitionist movement became interested in women’s rights as well, for many reasons. Female abolitionists sometimes faced discrimination within the movement itself, which led to their politicization on the issue of women’s rights. In addition, women working to secure freedom for African Americans began to see some legal similarities between their situation as Anglo women and the situation of enslaved black men and women.
In 1840, the World Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London. Abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott attended the Convention but were refused seats on the floor by male abolitionists because they were women. As a result, Stanton and Mott decided to hold a convention on women’s rights.
In 1848, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, in upstate New York.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resolution asking for women's suffrage. Many of those present opposed the idea, including influential Quakers James and Lucretia Mott. Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favor; he said that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. He suggested that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere.
After Douglass's powerful words, the attendees passed the resolution.
Also in the wake of the Seneca Falls Convention, Douglass used an editorial spot in his paper, The North Star, to press the case for women's rights in this public venue. The article was two-fold: it recalled the "marked ability and dignity" of the proceedings and briefly conveyed several arguments of the convention and feminist thought at the time.
FINALLY! THE RIGHT TO VOTE!
Tennessee became the last battleground state for ratification. There, as in other Southern states, the woman’s suffrage movement was inextricably linked in the minds of many with the abolition movement, and old animosities still simmered. In Dixie, even more than in other parts of the country, feminism ran counter to a culture in which conservative religion, tradition, and respect for the law was deeply engrained.
On August 18, 1920, the Tennessee legislature narrowly approved the 19th Amendment. On August 31, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to rescind their previous vote, but the U.S. Secretary of State had already proclaimed the amendment ratified on August 26.
The Age of Human Rights
Suffragette Movement - Women's Rights
Abolitionist Movement - Anti-Slavery
Temperance Movement - Ban on Alchohol
These Movements worked simultaneously to better the lives of Americans. They showed the world that the United States being ruled by the people and for the people will ensure that our country is continually striving to improve our citizens' lives and their pursuit of happiness.