Women’s Rights 1848-1920

Women had it difficult in the mid-1800s to early 1900s. There was a difference in the treatment of men and women. For example:
Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
Women were not allowed to vote
Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
Married women had no property rights
Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
With only a few exceptions
Women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect
Were made totally dependent on men.


Then the first Women’s Rights Convention was held on July 19 and 20 in 1848. The convention was convened as planned, and over the two-days of discussion, the Declaration of Sentiments and 12 resolutions received agreement endorsement, one by one, with a few amendments. The only resolution that did not pass unanimously was the call for women’s authorization. That women should be allowed to vote in elections was impossible to some. At the convention, debate over the woman’s vote was the main concern.

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Women’s Rights Conventions were held on a regular basis from 1850 until the start of the Civil War. Some drew such large crowds that people had to be turned away for lack of meeting space. The women’s rights movement of the late 19th century went on to address the wide range of issues spelled out at the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth, who were pioneer theorists, traveled the country lecturing and organizing for the next forty years. Winning the right to vote was the key issue, since the vote would provide the means to accomplish the other reforms. The campaign for woman’s right to vote ran across continous opposition that it took 72 years for the women and their male supporters to win.


During the Women’s Rights Movement, women faced incredible obstacles to win the American civil right to vote, which was later won in 1920.


There were some very important women involved in the Women’s Right Movement. Esther Morris, who was the first woman to hold a judicial position, who led the first successful state campaign for woman’s right to vote, in 1869. Abigail Scott Duniway, the leader of the successful fight in the early 1900s. Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell, arrangers of thousands of African-American women who worked for the right to vote for all women. Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt, leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the early years of the 20th century, who got the campaign to its final success.