Why Is Seneca Falls Important

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Seneca Falls: A Time for Irreverence
Movements rarely have a singular origin; nonetheless, a breakthrough in women’s rights was reached in the small town of Seneca Falls, New York back in 1848. Abolitionism, the revolution to end slavery, was well underway. Among the abolitionist, were women who emphatically attended meetings and conventions to forward the cause; however, their contributions were often discredited as they were denied seating and voting rights (Lerner 4). This disenfranchisement was not exclusive to the antislavery conventions. Much of the “role of a woman” was non-existent in positions such as politics, medicine and education. Essentially, women were placed in a box that was not only defined by men,
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The location was known to widely embrace radical thinkers by hosting many antislavery and religious gatherings. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martha Wright were two key contributors in upholding Seneca’s love for reformation as the “burned over district” (Lerner 4). Both, Quaker separatist, were devoted to improving the livelihood of women (4). Stanton, for one, had long documented the suffrages of women, and had been involved in campaign organization; in addition to, a history of pioneering awareness on daring issues such as marital rape. Perhaps one of the most important contributions by Stanton and later supporter Susan B. Anthony was the creation of the convention’s myth. A myth here is defined as a story behind an event, and not necessarily a falsity (Tetrault 10). Their myth gave the convention and, in some respects, the women’s rights movement an …show more content…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal,” was the foundation of the grievances mentioned in the declaration (Stanton 16). Influenced by the Declaration of Independence, the convention members disputed their lack of rights to self-determination, autonomy, and innate authority as a citizen of this country. As the document highlighted, female citizens were “civilly dead.” They had a marginalized voice in both personal and political landscapes. That position furthermore displays the significance of women’s empowerment in formally addressing these concerns on a national scale. Besides the right to vote, the declaration recognized women were disenfranchised, subject to a moral code based solely on gender, and shunned from critical leadership positions like teaching, law, and politics (17). These request were not in vain as the women’s rights movement used this document to gradually contest all of the sentiments. In 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution clearly outlawed sex as a reason to void voting rights (NWHP 19). Slowly, the US government began acknowledging the hardships that women unjustly face. 1963 Equal Pay Act, 1971 Reed vs. Reed case where women were regarded as “persons,” which in turn, challenged the segregation of laws by gender, and the 1984 case that addressed organizations that practice sex

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