Tag Archives: Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott: Social Reformer

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English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 - 188...

English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 – 1880), the proponent of women’s rights. The artist is Joseph Kyle (1815 – 1863). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the Civil War, a minority of Americans believed that slavery should end in the United States. These abolitionists had heard horror stories of mothers witnessing their children being sold to a different slave owner, of men being whipped to death, and female teens being raped by their masters. The abolitionists traveled the country and the world, giving speeches against slavery in hopes of persuading the rest of the public to join their cause. Though both male and female abolitionists had the same goal, the females were excluded from certain events and meetings; the women soon learned that they too were not equal to men. Lucretia Mott quickly learned women were not equal to men so she spent the rest of her life fighting for equality for slaves and women.

Lucretia Mott, born Lucretia Coffin, was born on January 3, 1793 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her parents were Quakers so she grew up hating slavery. After attending a Quaker boarding school, she became a teacher. As a teacher, she learned that male teachers made more than female teachers. This surprised her sine the Quakers preached equality, yet women still were not equal with men. A fellow teacher, James Mott, followed her to Philadelphia and the couple married in 1811. He would support his wife throughout their marriage. After the death of her son, Mott became a Quaker minister to spread the word of God. Mott, along with the rest of the Quakers, protested slavery by refusing to buy products of slave labor. Her husband got out of the cotton trade around 1830. Mott became a huge supporter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. Though she was threatened with physical violence at several anti-slavery meetings, Mott never stopped speaking out against slavery.

In 1833, she and 30 other female abolitionists organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1840, she was voted to be the delegate for the organization at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convection in London. When she arrived in London, Mott could not actively participate in the convection because she was a female. The male delegates voted to exclude the women because the women might try to make the meeting about themselves and women suffrage. Another woman there was Elizabeth Cady Stanton; as the two women sat in chairs in a rope-off area, they agreed that when they returned to the United States, they needed to create a convection for women about women’s rights. In 1848, the two women helped create the Seneca Falls Convection, the first women convection. This meeting was the official start of the women’s suffrage movement.

After the Civil War ended, many abolitionists believed their work was done since slaves were now free. Mott continued to work for black suffrage, traveling the country speaking about how the former slaves deserved to vote and how they deserved government aid. She also spoke about the importance of women’s suffrage. She was elected the head of the American Equals Rights Association, which split into National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association; one believed the 15th Amendment shouldn’t pass because it didn’t guarantee votes to women while the other believed that women must be patient. When the two women organizations split, she tried to ring them together (eventually the two groups did rejoin). This organization would succeed in getting women to vote, though it wasn’t until 1919. She died on November 11, 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from pneumonia.

Lucretia Mott was born into a religion that preached freedom and equality, yet still believed women were not equal to men. As she traveled the world speaking out against slavery, she realized that society still treated women as men’s property. Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized the first women’s convection in Seneca Falls, New York. This meeting would inspire hundreds of women to take action and because of these feminists, women are now able to own property, marry for love, have a career, and vote. Lucretia Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is honored in the Capitol Rotunda as a sculpture.

 

 

Sources:

 

Lucretia Mott. biography

 

Women’s Rights

 

Lucretia Mott

 

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Feminist

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Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When one thinks of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, one usually thinks only about Susan B. Anthony. Besides giving speeches and getting arrested trying to vote, Anthony also appeared on the U.S. coin dollar. Besides Anthony, there were hundreds of women involved in getting women the right to vote, including Anthony’s best friend  Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While majority of the women focused only on voting, Stanton also focused on women leaving unhappy marriage and saying “no” to their husband if they didn’t want to have sex; two very radical ideas at the time. Stanton believed before many women did that women are equal to men.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born on November 12, 1815 in Johnston, New York. Her father, Daniel Cady, was a New York Supreme Court judge so she grew up learning about law and how to debate. She attended Emma Willard’s Academy but because she was a woman, she could not attend college. After the academy, she spent much of her time at her cousin’s, the abolitionist Gerrit Smith. While she was there, Stanton met Henry B. Stanton and the two married in 1840. They spent their honeymoon at the World’s Antislavery Convection in London where Stanton met Lucretia Mott, an American female abolitionist. The two women were not allowed to participate in the antislavery convection, forced to sit in a rope-off area. The couple went to live in Boston, Massachusetts, where Stanton was surrounded by free-thinkers, including Louisa May Alcott and Frederick Douglass.

In 1847, the Stantons moved to Seneca Falls, New York. After having seven children, Stanton grew tired of domestic confinement and began working to get the Married Women’s Property Bill passed. The bill passed in New York in April 1948; it allowed women to own their property after marrying, instead of having their belongings go to the husbands. In July 1848, with the help of Mott, she organized the world’s first women’s rights convection. The two women never forgot being roped off from men at the slavery convection.Over 300 people attended, – it was the official start of the women suffrage movement.  In 1851, she met Susan B. Anthony through Amelia Bloomer; the two would remain best friends for the rest of their lives. While Stanton had to stay at home to take care of her husband and children, Anthony was single and able to travel; thus, Stanton wrote the speeches and Anthony delivered them. In 1854, Stanton addressed the New York Legislation on a women’s rights bill. Stanton and Anthony formed the National Women’s Loyal League on the constitutional abolition of slavery. They were upset when the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments allowed former male salves to vote but not American women, black or white. In 1969, they established the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, the forerunner of the organization that eventually secured the Nineteenth Amendment. The organization was upset that the Amendments passed excluding women while the American Woman Suffrage Association, founded by Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, supported the Amendments. In 1876, she wrote the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, which Anthony presented, uninvited, at the Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C. in 1876. The Rights were signed by several feminists, including Lucretia Mott. Stanton, Anthony, and Matilda Gage wrote the first three volumes of A History of Women Suffrage.

While majority of women concentrated on gaining voting rights, Stanton focused on women being able to divorce alcoholic husbands and to leave unhappy marriages; she also believed women should decide if they want more children and if not, they should be able to tell their husband “no” when he wanted to have sex or use birth control. Stanton believed organized Christianity was sexist, so in 1898, along with Gage, published The Women’s Bible. Stanton’s radical ideas shocked the conservative AMSA members, the reason why Stanton grew unpopular. In 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage merged with the conservative American Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton opposed the merge, but became the first president. Though the two ideas had differing ideas, they both agreed that women should be able to vote.

Stanton died from heart failure on October 26, 1902, 18 years before women were granted the right to vote. Though she almost disappeared from the history books due to her radical views in the late 1800’s, she is gaining popularity as Americans realize that women do deserve to have a happy marriage. At the Capital Rotunda, there is a sculpture of  Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on display. Stanton’s biggest regret was that she was not able to attend college because she was a woman; her daughters were able to attend college.

Sources:

 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Women’s Rights