Today's tour 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.
This History Channel exhibit is divided into three sections: History (a synopsis of 220 years of women's rights in America), Timeline (important events from 1777 to 1997) and Firsts. I particularly enjoyed Firsts, a timeline of women who were first at some achievement. For example, in 1715 Ann Teresa Mathews became the first women whose invention received a patent. Unfortunately, the patent was granted to her husband!
Consisting of excerpts from Doris Weatherford,'s book of the same title, this site is both well-illustrated and well-written. In addition to the chapter excerpts and primary source documents, you'll find a timeline 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.
At the 1848 Seneca Falls 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." There are two exhibits to enjoy at this cyber museum: the first is an illustrated narrative (called an "in-depth tour"), and the second is an image gallery of suffragette promotional items such as buttons, ribbons and posters.
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 also has a text component (167 books and pamphlets) linked to 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 voting 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.