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A women's march is happening within a day of the inauguration. This has happened before.

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A women's march is happening within a day of the inauguration. This has happened before.

WATCH  | The Women's March on Washington is Jan. 21 and it aims to unite women regardless of their age, religion, ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation or immigration status. 

Its goal is to emphasize that women's rights are human rights. 

Did you know that today's fight for equality began before the Civil War? 


The first gathering devoted to women's rights in the U.S. was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. 

During that meeting, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, along with about 100 others signed the Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions, which basically echoed the Declaration of Independence. The idea was to emphasize that men and women are created equal.

A divided women's movement

By 1869, two factions of the suffrage movement emerged. 

There was the National Women's Suffrage Association (NWSA)which opposed the 15th Amendment because it excluded women. This faction, which was led by Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, argued that white women's votes should be used to "neutralize" the votes cast by African-American men who won the right to vote when the 15th Amendment was ratified.

Lucy Stone helped form the other faction, known as the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). It rejected the NWSA's agenda because it was racially motivated. 

Both factions struggled to gain momentum during the 1880s. 

The AWSA was a larger group that had more funding but had a limited regional reach. The NWSA had a statewide network, but still, neither group was able to attract wide-reaching support for the cause. 

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Suffragettes picketing in Washington, D.C. between 1910 and 1920. (Library of Congress)

The two groups finally merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890 and began to argue that women deserved the vote because of the ways they differ from men. 

Still, women didn't win the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920. 

Now, let's fast forward to the upcoming Women's March on Washington and how it relates to the past. 

The Jan. 21 march is reminiscent of something that happened more than 100 years ago, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Thousands of women marched the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in 1913. They too were demanding a greater voice in American politics. 

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Wilson and Taft in open carriage arriving at U.S. Capitol for Wilson's first inauguration. (Library of Congress)

The protestors' presence certainly upstaged Wilson, who essentially slipped into the capital city unnoticed. 


Now, this is not to say that this year's inauguration or women's march is more important than the other.

It just so happens that the 1913 and 2017 women's marches were timed for maximum publicity by occurring around the same time as a presidential inauguration.

The goal of the Women's March on Washington is to send a visual message to President Donald Trump -- a message that women are united to protect their rights. 

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