Today's lesson takes us back to western New York, circa 1848, when the first American women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls. The participants signed a "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" that outlined the main issues and goals for the emerging women's movement - including the demand for women's right to vote. [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Women's Suffrage]
Consisting of excerpts from a recently published book, this site is both well-illustrated and well-written. "Full of photos highlighting the people and events that shaped the movement, A History of the American Suffragist Movement is an inspiring tribute to the women who struggled so hard to extend freedom and equality to half of the American people." In addition to the chapter excerpts, you'll find a time line that begins in 1637 ("Anne Hutchinson is convicted of sedition and expelled from the Massachusetts colony for her religious ideas.") and ends with the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment on August 26.
This year marks the 151st anniversary of the first American women's rights convention held at Seneca Falls, New York. "At that convention, the delegates adopted a platform that called for a broad range of social, economic, legal, and political reforms that would dramatically raise the status of women in American life. To the surprise of most of us today, the demand for women's right to vote (called woman suffrage) was the most controversial reform proposed at the convention." I tried to find a direct link to this fabulous suffrage exhibit, but the museum can only be entered through the splash page. To reach the exhibit, direct your mouse to Political Culture and Imagery of American Woman Suffrage.
These thirty-eight suffrage-era pictures are part of the Library of Congress' By Popular Demand program to digitize their most frequently requested holdings and place them online. In addition to portraits, you'll find "photographs of suffrage parades, picketing suffragists, and an anti-suffrage display, as well as cartoons commenting on the movement â€” all evoking the visible and visual way in which the debate over women's suffrage was carried out." The exhibit has a text component (167 books and pamphlets) linked from the front page.
The efforts of the suffragists went beyond petitions and parades. "Testing another strategy, Susan B. Anthony registered and voted in the 1872 election in Rochester, NY. As planned, she was arrested for â€˜knowingly, wrongfully and unlawfully vot[ing] for a representative to the Congress of the United States.'" You can read her handwritten petition to Congress declaring her $100 fine "unjust," along with eight other primary source documents (and teaching activities) from the National Record Archives.