Feminism… Thoughts! 0.3
Hi guys, I trust y’all are doing well. So today, we’ll pick up our article on feminism where we left off. If you haven’t read the prequels, please do. Let’s get right to it.
We closed the previous article on feminism talking about the fact that several literary societies formed at the time that were devoted to the “diffusion of knowledge and the suppression of vice and immorality.” In the early 1830s, which were the Female Literary Association, the Afric-American Female Intelligence Society.
Also, apart from establishing organizations, African-American women channelled more efforts to this cause (which is the fight for the abolition of women’s slavery). Like; going on extensive lecture tours across the country, and publishing letters, poems, and slave narratives. Women like Maria Stewart, Jarena Lee, Sarah Louise Forten Purvis and Sarah Mapps Douglass all openly spoke against slavery while supporting women’s education, and citizenship rights.
Building on the activism of the women in these social movements, many upper and middle-class white women joined the abolitionist movement. The likes of Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, the Grimke sisters; Angelina and Sarah Moore Grimké joined various white anti-slavery organizations.
However, these societies were dominated by men and they often did not allow women to speak publicly in front of male audiences. When women ignored these societal rules, they were mocked and scorned. For example, the Grimké sisters were ridiculed for their writings and the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts wrote a public statement against them for giving speeches in front of men in July 1837. Abolitionist women took matters into their own hands and convened the first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in New York City in 1837.
As they pursued this cause, their collective disenfranchisement became fairly more obvious. In 1840, the first World Anti-Slavery Convention was held in London. Unfortunately, the organizers made it clear that only men could attend the meeting. Lucretia Mott attended anyway and was joined by several other women activists including Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
After a period of debate, the male organizers decided that only men would be allowed to be speak and vote at the convention. The women were sent to the spectator’s gallery and were only allowed to watch and listen. After this meeting, Mott and Stanton decided to form a society and hold their own convention to advocate for women’s rights.
Eight years later, Mott, Stanton, and three hundred other women held the first Women’s Rights Convention. This group of women and male supporters met in July of 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.
At this meeting, they discussed and voted on the “Declaration of Sentiments,” organized by Stanton. Closely resembling the “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen” written by Olympes de Gouges’ during the French Revolution, Stanton declared that “all men and women are created equal.”