Women's Rights

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments in July 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York on this table. Courtesy of National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center via Smithsonian Institution.

Social reform movements, particularly the abolition and temperance movements, gave women a greater sense of empowerment through their participation. They began investing time and resources in charitable institutions, and from there, took on more public roles that moved them away from the domestic sphere. Many women abolitionists also became advocates for the rights of women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were two of America's most important leaders in the nineteenth-century quest for women's rights. Both women had been active in the antislavery and temperance movements before building a mass movement for women's rights. Although neither lived to see the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the vote, Stanton and Anthony built the foundation for women's suffrage in the twentieth century. The first convention for women’s rights took place in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York within several miles of the Erie Canal, with 200 women in attendance. An even larger group attended a follow-up conference in Rochester several weeks later.