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The Declaration of Sentiments occurred in 1848 as the culmination of a women’s rights conference in Seneca Falls, NY. At the time, abolition was brewing and female proponents were frustrated with the movement’s slow response to women’s rights, as some women identified with slaves and wished to join forces with abolitionism.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott became leaders in the women’s rights movement after attending an antislavery convention but having to be separated from the men behind a curtain. This incensed them and so they decided to organize. Their first conference, in Senca Falls, drew in about 100 people. The Declaration of Sentiments that culminated from the meeting mirrored the Declaration of Independence and used inclusive language.
The goal of the conference was for women to achieve gains in education and work, property rights, equality before the law, and primary custody of children in divorce cases. Voting rights was on the table but it wasn’t passed unanimously. The national vote was not granted women until 1920, but some gains for women as a result of the conference included—though varying from state to state: more property rights, less restrictive divorce conditions and the right in court to sue.
Source: Davidson, James West et al. U.S.: A Narrative History Volume I. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.
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