Written by Catherine A. Paul. “Throughout the history of the United States, music has been used to bring people together. By singing together, people are able to form emotional bonds and even shape behavior…Therefore, it is unsurprising that social movements have similarly interwoven music and action to create and sustain commitment to causes and collective activities.”

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Jeannette Rankin’s life was filled with extraordinary achievements: she was the first woman elected to Congress, one of the few suffragists elected to Congress, and the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II. “I may be the first woman member of Congress,” she observed upon her election in 1916. “But I won’t be the last.”1

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Hattie Wyatt Caraway served for 14 years in the U.S. Senate and established a number of “firsts,” including her 1932 feat of winning election to the upper chamber of Congress in her own right. Drawing principally from the power of the widow’s mandate and the personal relationships she cultivated with a wide cross–section of her constituency, “Silent Hattie” was a faithful, if staid, supporter of New Deal reforms, which aided her largely agricultural state.

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The following year, Woodhull became a trailblazer in another area as the first woman to run for president representing the Equal Rights Party. Woodhull’s presidential platform showed her foresight as she supported issues like an eight-hour workday, graduated income tax, new divorce laws, and social welfare programs that we enjoy today. While many trade unionists, women’s suffragists, and socialists supported Woodhull, she was unable to gain the funds for an effective campaign and could not receive votes from her female supporters as women did not yet have the right to vote.

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The tyrant, Custom, has been summoned before the bar of Common Sense. His Majesty no longer awes the multitude–his sceptre is broken–his crown is trampled in the dust–the sentence of death is pronounced upon him. All nations, ranks and classes have, in turn, questioned and repudiated his authority; and now, that the monster is chained and caged, timid woman, on tiptoe, comes to look him in the face, and to demand of her brave sires and sons, who have struck stout blows for liberty, if, in this change of dynasty, she, too, shall find relief.

Yes, gentlemen, in republican America, in the 19th century, we, the daughters of the revolutionary heroes of ’76, demand at your hands the redness of our grievances–a revision of your state constitution–a new code of laws. Permit us then, as briefly as possible, to call your attention to the legal disabilities under which we labor.

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Women’s Rights Conventions A History

Introduction: September 8 -10, 2002 marked the 150th anniversary of the Third National Women’s Rights Convention, held in Syracuse, New York in 1852 to discuss “woman’s social, civil, and religious rights” and a “plan of operation” to secure them. In celebration of the 1852 Convention, a special exhibit, Declarations of Independence: […]

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Grimke Sisters: Early and Prominent Activists for Abolition and Women’s Rights

 

Editor’s Note:  This entry is a composite of content from three sources:  The National Park Service’s Women’s Rights History, the National Women’s History Museum, and Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

 

Early Years: Two early and prominent activists for abolition and women’s […]

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One of the most radical, far-sighted and articulate early feminists, Matilda Joslyn Gage was deliberately written out of history after her death in 1898 by an increasingly conservative suffrage movement. Equal in importance to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gage is all but unknown today. (Source: Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation)

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Bloomer, Amelia

On May 17, 2016 By

Originally, The Lily was to be for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society, which had formed in 1848. Like most local endeavors, the paper encountered several obstacles early on, and the Society’s enthusiasm died out. Bloomer felt a commitment to publish and assumed full responsibility for editing and publishing the paper. Originally, the title page had the legend “Published by a committee of ladies.” But after 1850 – only Bloomer’s name appeared on the masthead.

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Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, – in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.

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