Model Lessson 3: The Early Women's Rights Movement

 

Document 1

 

Notes, Questions, Comments

A Brief History of Women's Rights

Before the Civil War

 

 

sue – to take legal action against someone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

endowed – funded

lecturers – a speaker giving useful information on a specific topic

empowerment – to give somebody power

 

illegitimate – born to parents who are not married to each other

 fervently – showing strong feelings of interest

 

criticism – an opinion of what is wrong or bad of somebody or something

abolition - outlawing slavery

 

 abolitionist – a person who opposes slavery

 

assigned – to give somebody a job to do

 

denounced – to publicly say someone is wrong or bad

 

 

 

preaching – to urge people to accept an idea

In the 1700s, men treated women like children. They did not let them work at any jobs. The law did not let them sign a contract or sue people in court. They could not be on a jury. Once she married, her husband owned a woman’s land and money. He even owned her clothing and jewelry. Most men believed that women could not run their own lives.

At first, women could only vote in one state—New Jersey. In 1807, New Jersey joined the other states. It banned voting. Men did not want women to vote. They thought they would just vote like their fathers, brothers, or husbands.

Changes began to occur. Education was an important issue for women. In 1821, Emma Hart Willard founded the Troy Female Seminary in New York. Hart was unable to get funding for the school from the governor of New York but later the town of Troy voted to raise money if Hart would move her school to the town. This institution was the first endowed school for girls.

One of the first female lecturers in the United States was Frances Wright who came to speak in 1829. She spoke out for not only the political rights of working men but for equality for women, empowerment of women through divorce, emancipation of the slaves, free religious inquiry, free public education for everyone, birth control, and equal treatment of illegitimate children.

In 1833, the American Anti-Slavery Society was formed. William Lloyd Garrison, one of the leaders of the society, was fervently for women's rights. Unfortunately the other members were not. When women were not allowed to sign the Declaration of Purposes, they formed the Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1837 as an answer. The society spread and it became the target of much criticism. There was strong opposition to abolition and even stronger opposition toward the female abolition societies. Meetings were often mobbed and the hall was burnt down where the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women was being held.

In 1836 Angelina Grimke and her sister Sarah arrived in New York as the first female abolitionist agents in the country. They were brought by the Female Anti-Slavery Society and assigned to give parlor talks to women. Their lectures soon began to attract larger and larger audiences so the meetings were moved to public auditoriums. The sisters were denounced by the clergy for going beyond women's "God-given place."

In addition to fighting for the abolition movement, women began to rise to leadership roles. Margaret Fuller, a writer, began to have essays written about women’s rights published in newspapers and journals. In 1845, Fuller published her book titled Women in the Nineteenth Century, which has become a classic book in the women’s rights movement. In addition to authors, women were making some progress in the field of science. Maria Mitchell became an astronomer and discovered a comet in 1847. Although discovering a comet was not rare, being a woman astronomer was not common. A year later, Mitchell became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

African American women joined the movement as well. In 1851, former slave Sojourner Truth was the only African American to attend a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio. She delivered her famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech at this convention. She spent her life preaching the message of equality for all people.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Constitutional Rights Foundation, How the Women's Rights Movement Began

(Los Angeles: CRF, 2003), p. 53-55.

 

Deckard, Barbara, The Women's Movement: Political, Socioeconomic and

            Psychological Issues (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), p. 253.

 

Gurko, Miriam, The Ladies of Seneca Falls: The Birth of the Women's Rights Movement

            (New York: Macmillan, 1974), p. 32 – 35.

 

Document 2
The Declaration of Sentiments and the Declaration of Independence Compared

 

 

Excerpt From:

The Declaration of Sentiments

Excerpt From:

The Declaration of Independence

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

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... 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

 

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 made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

 

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

 

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 denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education, all colleges being closed against her.

 

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 the United States.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth … a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

 

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

 

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

 

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

 

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

 

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

 

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

 

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

 

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America … solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved … And for the support of this Declaration, … we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

 

Student Handout 4
Analyzing The Declaration of Sentiments

 

Task:  Read the grievances from the Declaration of Sentiments, explain each in your own words and categorize the grievance.

 

Grievance

(Quote from the Declaration of Sentiments)

Explanation

(In your own words)

Category

(political, social, or economic)

He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise (the right to vote).

 

Women may not take part in the voting process.

 

He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead (having no rights in society or government).

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has denied her the facilities (way) for obtaining a thorough education, all colleges being closed against her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Women’s Rights Movement
Writing Assignment

Background:
In the early 19th century, women began to demand a change in American society. The women’s rights movement worked to extend the political and social rights of women. In 1848, The Declaration of Sentiments was written to call attention to the demands of the movement. Although these women worked tirelessly to achieve their goals, they faced many obstacles along the way.

Prompt:
The women’s rights movement of the 19th century sought to bring women social, political, and economic equality. Which of these goals was the most important and how successful was the women’s rights movement in achieving that goal?

Task:
Write a multi-paragraph paper in which you:
1. Write a clear introduction, including a thesis.
2. Write one body paragraph that identifies the most important goal of the women’s rights movement.
3. Write one body paragraph that evaluates the success or failure of that goal.
4. Include evidence from two documents, with appropriate citations, to support your ideas.

Suggested Vocabulary: (use at least five of these words)
education
social
political
economic
voting
rights
equality
reform
movement

Women’s Rights Essay Rubric

Prompt: 
The women’s rights movement of the 19th century sought to bring women social, political, and economic equality. Which of these goals was the most important and how successful was the women’s rights movement in achieving that goal?

Task: 
Write a multi-paragraph paper in which you: 


1. Write a clear introduction, including a thesis.


2. Write one body paragraph that identifies the most important goal of the women’s rights movement. 
(social or political or economic)

3. Write one body paragraph that evaluates the success or failure of that goal.


4. Include evidence from two documents, with appropriate citations, to support your ideas.

5. Use at least five of the vocabulary words

The Rubric
4. - A clear thesis statement is written that addresses the prompt. - Identifies the most important goal of the women’s rights movement in one paragraph, and includes at least two different sources (Document 1, Document 2, Student Handout 2, Student Handout 4). Contains at least three pieces of evidence from the documents to support the argument. Each piece of evidence is cited with quotes. - In another paragraph, presents at least one solid reason why the goal was achieved or not achieved. - Uses at least five of the vocabulary words in either or both of the paragraphs using correct grammar and spelling.

3. - A mostly clear thesis statement is written that addresses the prompt. - Identifies the most important goal of the women’s rights movement in one paragraph, and includes at least two different sources (Document 1, Document 2, Student Handout 2, Student Handout 4). Contains at least two pieces of evidence from the documents to support the argument. Each piece of evidence is cited with quotes. - In another paragraph, presents at least one reason why the goal was achieved or not achieved. - Uses at least four of the vocabulary words in either or both of the paragraphs using mostly correct grammar and spelling.

2. - A somewhat clear thesis statement is written that addresses the prompt. - Identifies an important goal of the women’s rights movement in one paragraph, and includes at least one different source (Document 1, Document 2, Student Handout 2, Student Handout 4). Contains at least one piece of evidence from the documents to support the argument. The piece of evidence is cited. - In another paragraph, presents at least one reason why the goal was achieved or not achieved. - Uses at least three of the vocabulary words in either or both of the paragraphs using mostly correct grammar and spelling.

1. - No clear thesis statement addresses the prompt. - An important goal of the women’s rights movement is not included. - No sources are cited. - No evidence is cited. - Does not present at least one reason why the goal was achieved or not achieved. - Uses two or fewer of the vocabulary words in either or both of the paragraphs using mostly correct grammar and spelling.