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 Women's Rights National Historical Park
A group of life size bronze statues is the iconic signature piece of art at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y., shown in a June 2, 1995 photo. The statues depict Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass and Lucretta Mott and other attendees to an 1848 Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls. That convention, at which 100 women and men signed a Declaration of Sentiments modeled after the 1776 Declaration of Independence, will be celebrated in splendor next month in sharp contrast to the howls of criticism it drew 150 years ago. (AP Photo/Michael Okoniewski)

The first Women's Rights Convention happened 170 years ago

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WASHINGTON (Circa)- July 19th in 1848 the first ever woman’s rights convention was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Almost 200 women attended the convention organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton and Mott were two abolitionist who met in London at the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention.

At the time women were barred from the convention floor, which inspired Mott and Stanton to found the women’s rights movement in the U.S. Working along with Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock and Jane Hunt, Mott and Stanton sent out a call for a women’s conference to be held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The announcement was published in the Seneca County Courier and read “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women will be held in the Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, N.Y., on Wednesday and Thursday, the 19th and 20th of July current; commencing at 10 o’clock A.M. During the first day the meeting will be exclusively for women, who are earnestly invited to attend. The public generally are invited to be present on the second day, when Lucretia Mott, of Philadelphia, and other ladies and gentlemen, will address the Convention”

On the first day of the convention, Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances” to the 200 women in attendance, which was modeled after the Declaration of Independence.

The second day of the convention, men were invited to attend. Close to 40 men attended including Fredrick Douglas. On that day the Declaration of Sentiment was signed by the assembly. The Seneca Falls Convention was ridiculed for proclaiming a women’s right to vote, and some backers of women’s rights removed their support. Despite this, it marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in America. After years of struggle, the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote was adopted in 1920.

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