During this century, women were not obtained to much other than household duties and gender specific roles, this became a rising conflict for the women who were active in society, and were greeted with limitations due to their gender. Women were seen as subordinate to males, even though they had strong evangelical women leaders who demonstrated strength in all aspects. References to some of the leading ladies in history, prove that these women were just as strong and educated than the men that ran their country. Although, women were held to these gender limitations, this did not stop them from growing or believing in the ideology that would later cause a methodical reform movement. This reform movement was so significant to history, simply because of the long-lasting effects it had for all women, and because of the issue of liberty against social values at that point in time. This initiative that women carried with them, ultimately, prompted the first forming of feminism.

“The emergence of feminism depended on the slightly earlier subtle changes in the women’s view of domestic role”[1]. The preaching of Charles Finney was one of the fathering reasons why women developed a different mind-set that separated their values from society’s, this is because he recurrently advocated women to search for amelioration. Charles preaching’s was the realization moment that helped expand the mind of women. Although, his preaching’s did help women comprehend their worth, they were not sufficient enough for women to actually take action in society. Alongside Charles ministries, was the incongruous between farming societies and urban cities, women experienced different values, and played very distinct roles between these two societies.[2] For instance, on family farms women worked beside men, they focused more on sharing the domesticity, this was a common trait within Quaker farm homes.  Because of this, women in the urban cities were expected to obey gender restrictions that society had placed on them, such as housework, childcare, and now the active involvement in a society. Quaker men were consumed into urban lifestyles because of all the opportunities in manufacturing, while men were being drawn to the urban cities women were being urged to return to the farm life. Simply because life on the farm held women to the same expectation, while urban life women were isolated from any public motions. The economic and political growth in urban cities, sent any motion of women’s right’s down the drain, and grew men’s pride in social mores. Married Women were advised to join charitable notions or any public activity in the society that required crucial amount of time. Women then took directive of most reform societies of the era, they carried with them the ideology for amelioration, this intense belief for better, this is what began the era of reform movements.[3] Reform movements, are congregations of people standing together in support of one notion, to improve the human society. “Societies to aid the sick, poor, orphans, homeless women, and slaves, … all asserting their female superiority” [4] All reform movements have a similar notion, to better the society and the people who experience this impacting societal effect. Women started to become the focal points of all reform movements, because women now had the capacity to think in the ideology of amelioration and the time support needed, they only needed one reform movement to spring them into the motion of Woman’s Rights. This reform movement would be the abolitionist, because women shared the experience of being inferior to male superiority they shared similar beliefs and values and quickly developed close interactions amongst this reform movement. In essence these two inferior groups became allies with each other and teamed up against the immoral acts of society put into place by white male dominance.[5] These two groups led to the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, which was one of the long-lived women abolitionist societies. This group was not one of the first female antislavery society, but it was so significant because the women who participated in this group later congregated together and played important aspects in American feminism. [6] This was an influential reason why women were drawn to politics of the era, as women began to participate in more society events such as reform movements, they slowly commenced the realization that none of them had ever understood politics. Because they were isolated from urban growth these women were not introduced to the politics of man, therefore when they directed these reform movements they struggled in knowing terms such as preambles and documents.[7] The first female anti-slavery society was persecuted for aiming to end prejudice actions, this congregation was open to all members who shared the same views and morals based on prejudice acts. All of these events have led up to the final forming of a women activist society, that would dispute over controversial issues for women.

These controversial events ultimately led to the construction of women’s rights movement, as of before women were so consequently engaged in other methodical reform movements that none of them formed a movement in support of woman’s suffrage. During the mid-nineteenth century, ideas that women could have the same amount of equality than a man was considered a drastic opinion. Even though, these were the opinions of many this did not stop the forming of the Society of Friends. This was the first women activist group that aimed in reforming the role of women in society. The Society of Friends was remodeled after the late eighteenth century Rules of Discipline.[8] The Rules of Discipline was an influential aspect of all woman’s beliefs, simply because it talked about the woman’s role in a society. Because women participated in many unorthodox movements, they had strong supporters from almost every other movement. The Society of Friends was highly advocated from the abolitionist group and as well as other foundations that women took directive of, this grew the popularity for the organization, and soon needed improvements on their documents and beliefs. “In 1836, several of Rochester’s most reform-minded women and men were appointed to consider changes in the Society’s Rules of Discipline”[9] Because the Rules of Discipline needed to be remodeled members chose those who they believed fitted the position to make new editions and edit the document. The final production was a new improved document that not only demonstrated the woman’s role in a society, but now it discussed the full equality women deserved.[10] In 1840, the Anti-Slavery Convention transpired and influenced the revolutionizing women to start their own convention, but only discuss problematic issues for women and raise the question of equality. The Seneca Falls Convention took place in New York, and was hosted by evangelical women activists. At this congregation women and men drafted the Declaration of Principles, which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence, in this document it discussed political issues that women faced, but never discussed. [11] The role of women was then put into discussion once again, but this time it was approached in a different manner. Seneca Falls is attributed the name of the first wave of feminism, simply because it is the first documented convention that got signatures from both men and women, and demonstrated structure in all aspects. Women searched for freedom within the sex ideology that held them to these restraints of not being involved in the community events. The Seneca Falls is extremely significant to history, because of the impactful words and documents that were discussed, this convention was soon heard about throughout the U.S. In fact, it inspired Fredrick Douglass’ novel North Star, because of previous bonds that women had formed with abolitionist such as Fredrick, he highly endorsed and encouraged them throughout their movement. [12] Fredrick then after carried his endorsement of women activists in the Rochester Woman’s Rights Convention, this second convention was considered the second meeting to Seneca Falls. Although, it didn’t gain as much claim as Seneca, it did discuss different measures of women issues. “The Rochester was called to consider the Rights of women, politically, socially, religiously, and industrially”[13] The Rochester effected the Woman’s Rights Movement just as much as Seneca, but it simply discussed of different controversial topics in the women activism. Although Seneca and Rochester differentiate between ideas they both share a similarity in the cause, which is the belief of reaching amelioration for women. These two conventions were not all of the Woman’s Rights Movement, there are few documents that state Seneca Falls wasn’t the first convention discussing political views on woman’s rights. In 1846, petitions were found in Albany discussing similar matters to Seneca. In this petition people were disputing over the right to women suffrage. One of these petitions submitted was from a woman advocates association, the petition was written by women who remained virtually invisible.[14] These two conventions symbolized more than a reform movement, they were amelioration in process, these conventions were the first two congregations that actually symbolized a fight for woman’s suffrage. All in all, the first actual evidence that formed feminism was these two symbolic yet unique conventions, that would help change the ideals of women soon to be.

The effects of the woman’s rights movement carried on for the next several years, which marked struggle and triumph. These very significant moments not only marked history, but changed the outcome for women in all aspects during that era. The suffrage campaign grew just as the ideology of women, after the 1850’s. During the war, women and abolitionists separated their groups between the union and south, because of this controversial war taking place many of their old allies soon turned into enemies with similar yet different ideals. After the war, the reconstruction era placed perpetual stress on the members of the reform movements, the paradox of the woman’s rights movement was still left untouched by the government. This sparked anger amongst women activist throughout the U.S, lucidly because the government’s focus at this point in time was solely on slavery, even taking the question of giving free slaves an opportunity to vote. That voice in politics was desired from everyone in different time periods, and this was the era for slaves and women. Although women were embittered with the fact that blacks were being handled by the government before them, this once again did not stop them from endorsing and helping the abolitionist movement. “In May 1866, these indefatigable feminists changed the Woman’s Rights Convention into Equal Rights Association, whose chief aim was universal suffrage”[15] Women were still strong supporters for abolitionist, even if the woman’s rights movement was not progressing at the pace they had wanted it to. From Agrarian cultures to urban lifestyle, to reform movements, and to the reconstruction era, through all of those points in time women were faced with the restrictions of gender limitations that prevented them from being able to improve or make an impact. But through all of these triumphs women stood still and made sure that they were still in the loop. That requires true intellect, skill, and physical activity, all things that males believed women could not have the capacity to handle. Finally, after a long amount of time, women were granted the right to vote under the nineteenth amendment. “In the Fall of 1920, women across the United States, many for the first time, cast ballots in a presidential election”[16] The ultimate effect of the woman’s rights movement before 1850 was the right to vote, the suffrage that they fought for took a slow pace but it finally happened.

All in all, The Woman’s Rights Movement is relevant to the United States, because it deals with feminism in a period of sexism and misogyny, through this period women are faced with a multitude of challenges due to their gender. Because of the evangelical women leaders during the mid-nineteenth century, women today are able to experience and grasp freedom in all aspects. Although today in our society females are still considered a minority in differential ways, it is a complete amelioration system rather than what it was of the time of reform movements. What the women did in that century was build and grow the foundation for feminism in the U.S. These inspiring women stood for what they believed in and never stopped growing the society as a whole. Overall, these strong influential women changed the societal view on women and helped develop the ideology that would soon lead them into voting booths.

Bibliography

Brown, Ira. April 1978. “Cradle of Feminism: The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1833- 1840” in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vol.102. no.2. pp. 143-166.

Hewitt, Nancy. Fall 2012. “Feminist Frequencies: Regenerating the Wave Metaphor” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.38. no. 3. pp. 658-680.

Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol. 12. no. 1. pp. 27-49.

Ginzberg, Lori and Katz, Jacob. Winter 1997. “1846 Petition for Woman’s Suffrage, New York State Constitutional Convention” in The University of Chicago Press, vol. 22. no. 2. pp. 427-439.

Quarles, Benjamin. January 1940. “Fredrick Douglass and the Woman’s Rights Movement” in Association for the Study of African American Life and History, vol. 25. no. 1. pp. 35-44.

Ziebarth, Marilyn. Summer 1971. “MHS Collections: Woman’s Rights Movement” in Minnesota Historical Society Press, vol. 42. no. 6. pp. 225-230.

 

[1] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Agrarian Quakers and the emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, vol.12. no.1. pp.27.

[2] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Agrarian Quakers and the emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, vol.12. no.1. pp. 30.

[3] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1996. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1. pp.34.

[4] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1996. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1. pp. 34.

[5] Hewitt, Nancy. Fall 2012. “Feminist Frequencies: Regenerating the Wave Metaphor” in Feminist Studies, Inc, vol.38. no.3. pp.662.

[6] Brown, Ira. April 1978. “Cradle of Feminism: The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1833- 1840” in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vol.102. no.2. pp. 144.

[7] Brown, Ira. April 1978. “Cradle of Feminism: The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, 1833-1840” in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vol.102. no.2. pp. 145.

[8] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1. pp.35.

[9] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1 pp.37.

[10] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1. pp.37

[11] Ziebarth, Marilyn. Summer 1971. “MHS Collections: Woman’s Rights Movement” in Minnesota Historical Society Press, vol.42. no.6. pp.225.

[12] Quarles Benjamin. Jan1940. “Fredrick Douglass and the Woman’s Rights Movement” in Association for the Study of African American Life and History, vol.25. no.1. pp.35.

[13] Hewitt, Nancy. Spring 1986. “Feminist Friends: Agrarian Quakers and the Emergence of Woman’s Rights in America” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol.12. no.1 pp.40-41.

[14] Cogan, Jacob and Ginzberg, Lori. Winter 1997. “1846 Petition for Woman’s Suffrage, New York State Constitutional Convention” in The University of Chicago Press, vol. 22. No. 2. pp. 428.

[15] Quarles, Benjamin. January 1940. “Fredrick Douglass and the Woman’s Rights movement” in Association for Study of African American Life and History, vol. 25. no. 1. pp. 39.

[16] Hewitt, Nancy. Fall 2012. “Feminist Frequencies: Regenerating the Wave Metaphor” in Feminist Studies, Inc., vol. 38. No.3. pp. 658.

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