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Womens Right

  • Date Submitted: 12/04/2013 07:43 PM
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The beginning of the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States, which predates Jeannette Rankin’s entry into Congress by nearly 70 years, grew out of a larger women’s rights movement. That reform effort evolved during the 19th century, initially emphasizing a broad spectrum of goals before focusing solely on securing the franchise for women. Women’s suffrage leaders, moreover, often disagreed about the tactics for and the emphasis (federal versus state) of their reform efforts. Ultimately, the suffrage movement provided political training for some of the early women pioneers in Congress, but its internal divisions foreshadowed the persistent disagreements among women in Congress and among women’s rights activists after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Alice Paul (second from left), chairwoman of the militant National Woman’s Party, and officers of the group in front of their Washington headquarters, circa 1920s. They are holding a banner emblazoned with a quote from suffragist Susan B. Anthony: "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex."View Larger
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Alice Paul (second from left), chairwoman of the militant National Woman’s Party, and officers of the group in front of their Washington headquarters, circa 1920s. They are holding a banner emblazoned with a quote from suffragist Susan B. Anthony: "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex."
The first gathering devoted to women’s rights in the United States was held July 19–20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. The principal organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a mother of four from upstate New York, and the Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott.1 About 100 people attended the convention; two-thirds were women. Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions,” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of...

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