The First Women's Convention

The first spark of the continuing movement of women's rights began early Wednesday morning on July 19th, 1848. In a small Methodist church located in Seneca Falls New York, the first ever women's convention was held. The convention was organized by a group of women known for their actions in political reform. The primary women included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony. 

The first meeting of these women was held in one of their homes, where they discussed the utmost importance of a women's rights reform. They decided that a women's convention should be held in order to educate and spread the word of equal rights for both men and women. Cady Stanton and the other women then drafted what they titled: “The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions”. This document was constructed by paraphrasing parts of the Original Declaration of Independence. The Document began by declaring that “all men and women are created equal”. It then proceeds into a list of subcategories staging different political injustices. Some of the Injustices included women being denied access to voting, access to higher education, and access to certain professions. Other injustices discussed women not receiving equal pay for equal work done by their male counterparts as well as women's lack of property rights without marriage. Overall the declaration consisted of over a thousand words and it concluded with the demand of these injustices being reformed. 

The convention lasted a total of two days and overall there were about 300 people in attendance. The first day of the convention was meant primarily for women attendance, but around 40 men showed up at Wesleyan Methodist Church. The organizers decided to let the men stay regardless of the fact that the convention was initially held specifically for women. From Wednesday morning till late Thursday evening, the group of people discussed the Declaration of Sentiments and as well as its' resolutions. They made changes to the document in areas they saw fit and then concluded the convention with a signing of the document. One hundred people signed the document and of those one hundred people 68 were women and 32 were men. 

The New York media coverage of the event was less than supportive. Many were upset at the suffrage idea and were less than afraid to speak their minds. Many major papers mocked the event and stated that the declaration and its ideas were downright amusing. The only paper that took the convention seriously and respected the reforms wanting to be made was the liberal New York Tribune. The New York Tribune may not have agreed with all of the events demands due to the idea that equal political rights were deemed improper. But they did bring light to the event in a manner that showed respect for the assertion of natural rights. But as word of the convention traveled locally it began to make its way beyond the state lines of New York. Soon the convention spread rather rapidly throughout the entire nation and quickly became known as the first spark of women's rights in the United States. 


Rynder, Constance. "'All men and women are created equal.' (1848 Women's Rights Convention)." American History, vol. 33, no. 3, Aug. 1998, p. 22+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

19 Summer 1848 to 21 Summer 1848