Declaration of Sentiments

The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by 68 women and 32 men; 100 out of around 300 participants at the first women’s rights convention to be organized by women. The declaration is one of America’s most important documents advocating women’s rights. It was written mostly by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and was presented to the participants at America’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, in July of 1848.

In a time of women only allowed to be dependent on men for literally everything in their life, the Declaration was a power move on Elizabeth Cady’s part. The declaration couldn’t of came a better time because times were getting worse on women and it was down to the fact that these women couldn’t choose how to live their own life.

As the reading passage states “women had no voice in the making of laws; she was deprived of other rights of citizenship; she was declared civilly dead upon marriage; etc.”

Imagine a world where no one spoke up like Elizabeth and these other lady and men had? We as women would be stuck to the at-home life style and punished and shunned for any decision we attempted to make on our own. Without these acts of feminism striving through, we would still be close to looked at as worthless humans who were only good for child birth and tending to their husbands. I could never live in a world of that sort. (pg. 225)

With the Declaration of Sentiments woman now have a voice. Not a quiet “in their head only” voice, but a voice to be heard of what they want and how they choose to live their life. Women can now get a divorce if they please and get out of an abusive relationship with no remorse shown to them. The most important specific to the declaration is a women’s own right to her body. Can you name a time where today a woman wasn’t able to control what she did with HER own body parts? The declaration was beyond revolutionary, it was legendary.

7 thoughts on “Declaration of Sentiments

  1. The passion behind this post is great! If Stanton hadn’t held this convention or shed light on the issues of gender oppression, American women would most likely still be expected to be nothing but breeders and house keepers. It is so important that women now have the right to make their own decisions for the most part, and I hope that one day this will apply to all women (specifically in third world countries where women still face harsh inequality.) Good post, Marisa!

  2. I agree with you that the Declaration of Sentiments is one of the most powerful documents that advocate for women’s rights, although it’s a shame that her declaration was still heavily rooted in racism. I suppose in order to make progress in such a man-dominated, white-dominated world, women of color would have to tolerate the racism for just a little while longer before they could become activists for women as well. I do think her Declaration came at a most opportune moment and it definitely was a stepping stone in the movement.

    It is difficult to imagine a world where Americans didn’t fight for the rights they so deserve, but I understand the sentiment behind this. Women don’t have the same rights in other parts of the world as they would currently have here in America, so that’s important to remember. If such an American society did exist, women would continue to be ostracized by society and still treated as property. While I am not woman or man (I am nonbinary), I can also say that living in a such a society would be very difficult. It’s easy to say that we will speak out against injustices if no one has or would, but would we really do it? I would like to say that I would fight as much as I could. Equality is important.

    Thanks to Stanton’s groundbreaking Declaration, women had a stepping stone to freedom. They could break themselves of what chained them to man. While women do have many rights now as compared to the past, there are still men and other individuals out there that prove that misogyny is still prevalent in our society. This is why feminism continues to exist and will not die out. The moment we allow feminism to die is the moment we sacrifice all of the hard work we’ve put into the movement. Your post was incredibly informative, passionate, and creates room for interesting conversation and friendly debate. Excellent work!

    1. Your comment is very insightful and resonates with many! In reading all the blogs and comments I feel as though much of the time we express America and freedom as being almost synonymous with one another, but I often like to check myself on that assumption. Yes, America is relatively free and women DO have many freedoms here, but we as a country are not the end-all be-all of freedom. There are plenty of other developed countries that are more liberal and progressive than we are, where their citizens, including the women, have more freedom than we do. So even though the work women have done here is extremely important, there are other places in the world that are now making larger strides than we are.

  3. I could not imagine living in a world that was dominated by only males and I also could not imagine having to live a life where I could not make any decisions for myself. I think that most things work out better when there is a team effort, same with relationships and marriages etc. Great post!

  4. Though the Declaration of Sentiments was a massively important document to give a base to feminism, we still live in a world, even in America, in which we do not have total control over ourselves as women. One thing I can point out is that we still don’t have control over our bodies, such as in the option to choose an abortion. Men and women in Washington, with or without certain religious convictions, still try to fight against the right we have to our own bodies. The women who created this document are extremely commendable but the movement isn’t over, there is still more that is needed to reach full equality between the sexes.

  5. The Declaration of Sentiments was an excellent jumping off point for the feminist movement, your post was so passionate and I like that you enlarged a quote that you thought was important from the reading, I mentioned the part of a quote about a woman being “civilly dead” after marriage on another blog post, I also felt that that was an important part of the reading. Something else that I felt was important was that Stanton wanted equality even if it was not necessarily beneficial to woman, she shows this in saying “He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband.”

  6. I was surprised that 300 people showed up to this event, but I was a little shocked that only one third of the people there signed it. Most of the time now a days you only go support something that you really enjoy. It makes me wonder why two thirds of people didn’t sign it. Was it men afraid of women or just people not wanting change? Its nice to see that in when women were very desperate a few women took a stand for everyone to try to get them the life they deserved.

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