Rise of Women’s Rights

As America moved closer to civil war, the discussion of slavery raised broader questions about equality and citizenship. Women began to question the denial of their right to vote or hold office and the inequality of education and employment. In 1848, a group of activists organized the world’s first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Attendees signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which used language similar to the Declaration of Independence (1776) to call for equal rights.

Writing continued to be an important tool for the women’s movement in the decades that followed. Essays, speeches, stories, and poems challenged constrictive social structures and offered bold new visions for true equality.

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