The Seneca Falls Convention

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According to Lerner (2009), the womens demands are in two sets, their rights, and emancipation. Their rights imply the civil aspects that they have been denied for centuries including the right to vote, education, access to political and economic power and the ability to hold office. The status quo has denied these rights and so women could not even control their property let alone earnings. Their claim on rights is based on the notion that they are American citizens, members of the general society, and by right, they are equal to the men in the same country and society. The status quo determines such rights, and the women seek to be admitted on equality basis.

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Women emancipation is the other set of demand that is defined by oppressive restrictions that the female gender has been exposed to for so long. These limitations are notable because of their sex sourced from both their biological definition as well as the social implications of the sex itself. Because of their biological role of giving birth and nursing children, their role in the society being house work has been socially imposed. As opposed to the civil rights, the womens emancipation has not been achieved on any grounds. Women are voting today because of the feminist movements that have been fighting for their rights, but the fact is that the women are still bound by the same socially imposed restrictions that have been holding them back (Lerner, 2009).

In its own way, the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 did not achieve all its initial intentions. Elizabeth Stanton was a victim of the social restrictions where she sought to be equal to her brothers but was in vain. As a result, she attempted to free women from similar chains or in other words she wanted to free the women. The primary goal of holding the convention was to show that they were equal to men. In this sense, they had the unalienable rights that they have continually been denied. womens rights have been won or improved upon in many parts of the world in the past 150 years. Womens emancipation has not yet been won anywhere, (Lerner 2009, p. 7). Despite this fact, women all over have been given their civil rights and in its own way, the convention stirred movement. Women can own property, vote for their leaders, and even hold offices. Regardless, women are still prisoners of the social restrictions considering that they are still women and subject to follow all the set rules by the status quo. According to Lerner (2009), freedom (emancipation) encompasses both self-determination and autonomy.

Indeed, the Seneca Falls Conventions was the epitome of the first wave of feminist movements. Tetrault argues that the movements of womens rights can be spotted throughout the past but the first ever convention that inspired the fight for civil rights was held in Worcester and involved the whole nation in 1850, a few years after the Seneca Falls convention. It was however made possible by the Seneca Falls Convention. Lerner (2009, p. 5) points out that Most of the reformers attending had family, church and political affiliations in other areas of the North and Midwest. It was through them that the message of Seneca Falls spread quickly and led to the formation of a national movement. The upsurge of the second wave feminism in the 1960s points to the fact that the lofty objectives set for the Seneca Falls Convention and the first wave feminism had not been met by then. Moreover, Lerner (2009, p. 8) states that the same distinctions and tensions as in the first wave of feminism have appeared in the new feminism that started in the 1960s. The debate over womens right to vote has seen a lot of dispute over the years. However, the convention of 1848 impacted heavily on the religious domain of the womens lives considering that they were able to attain leadership positions in the church. The voting rights for women was not granted universally in the United States. Regardless, in 1890, the Wyoming State was the first to allow women the voting chance. In 1900, the married women in New York gained some control over property and earnings attributed to the modeled legislations passed for every state. The Seneca Falls Convention evidently inspired the change in the society.

Lerner (2009, p. 7) states that Self-determination means being free to decide ones own destiny, to defined ones own social role. On this basis, it is indeed wrong to state that the women are free because they are still to give birth and nurse the children as their biology and physiology imposes. Their social role ever since the advent of society has been the same, to care for the home. In the contemporary society, women can access most of their civil rights but still their first and most important social role is to care for the household. In this sense, the Seneca Falls Conventions, even though it ignited the flame, it did not achieve its set out objectives. The Seneca Falls Convention marked the genesis of womens suffrage in the United States. Even though history has disregarded this important historical event, it is an important one for the women all over the globe.


Lerner, G. (2009). The Meaning of Seneca Falls. Living with History/Making Social Change, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Web. Retrieved from

Ed. Stanton, E. C. et al. (1881). The Seneca Falls Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. History of Women Suffrage, New York: Fowler and Wells.

Tetrault, L. (2014). Prologue: Getting Acquainted with History. The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Womens Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898, Un...

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