On this day – July 19, 1848 – the first United States women’s rights convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York. It was organized by local New York women upon the occasion of a visit by Boston-based Lucretia Mott, a Quaker famous for her speaking ability. The local women, primarily members of a radical Quaker group, organized the meeting along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a skeptical non-Quaker who followed logic more than religion. Many saw this meeting as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women to gain complete equality with men. Speakers during the two-day meeting included Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth W. M’Clintock, Amy Post, Stanton and Mott. Attendees included Ameila Bloomer.
On Thursday, July 20, 1848, at the morning session on the second day of the First Women’s Rights Convention, sixty-eight women signed the Declaration of Sentiments under the heading, “Firmly relying upon the final triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.” Read the declaration here at nps.gov and see the names of the women and men who signed-on.
On a local note, the second National Women’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1851. Reactions in the press varied widely. This post-convention comment appeared in the Lowell Courier:
In Massachusetts, the Lowell Courier published its opinion that, with women’s equality, “the lords must wash the dishes, scour up, be put to the tub, handle the broom, darn stockings.”