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The First National Women’s Rights Convention

The first national Women’s Rights Convention opened in Worcester, Massachusetts October 23, 1850. Two years earlier, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott had launched the woman suffrage movement with their hastily organized Seneca Falls Convention in New York. They published the Declaration of Sentiments, using language modeled after the Declaration of Independence, to call for voting rights for women. They also expressed a hope that conventions for women’s rights would continue to be held at regular intervals.

The first morning session of the national convention drew 900 delegates, mostly men. By that afternoon, the ranks had swelled to more than a thousand. The hall was packed and many more waited outside. People came from 11 states, including California, which had only been a state for a few weeks. The president and keynote speaker, Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis, called for “the emancipation of a class, the redemption of half the world, and a conforming reorganization of all social, political, and industrial interests and institutions.” Other speakers followed, included Lucretia Mott, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth. The convention closed with a speech by Lucy Stone that moved Horace Greeley to take up the cause in the New York Tribune, which in turn inspired Susan B. Anthony to join the women’s movement. Stone said: “We want to be something more than the appendages of Society; we want that Woman should be the coequal and help-meet of Man in all the interest and perils and enjoyments of human life. We want that she should attain to the development of her nature and womanhood; we want that when she dies, it may not be written on her gravestone that she was the ‘relict’ of somebody.”

The Tribune was a rare exception, however; most newspapers were scornful at best and openly hostile at worst. The New York Herald published what it called “the actual designs of that piebald assemblage called the Women’s Rights Convention,” a list that included abolishing the Bible, the Constitution, the laws of the land, and the gallows; encouraging the “free and miscellaneous amalgamation of sexes and colors”; and “cut[ting] throats ad libitum.” 

SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission SheVille.org provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.
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