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1 1848 Seneca Falls "Declaration of Sentiments" In 1848, three years after Texas became a state, five women called the world's first woman's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York. The men and women who attended passed a "Declaration of Sentiments," modeled on the Declaration of Independence, and twelve forceful resolutions. Elizabeth Cady Stanton introduced the most controversial of the resolutions, votes for women. The organized struggle for woman suffrage had begun. DOCUMENT* DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations , pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government , and to provide new guards for their future security. Such *From: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et al., The History of Woman Suffrage (Rochester: Susan B. Anthony, 1887), vol. 1, 70-71. 51 52 CITIZENS AT LAST has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise. He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice. He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners. Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise , thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation , he has oppressed her on all sides. He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. He has taken from her all rights in property, even to the wages she earns. He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement. He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes, and in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women—the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands. After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single, and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it. He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781623493684
Related ISBN
9781623493653
MARC Record
OCLC
954671611
Pages
268
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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