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Women and Reform. Lesson 16: Reforming American Society part 4. Women ’ s Rights Movement Emerges. Women ’ s work on behalf of others eventually prompted them to improve their own lives. Some women began to campaign for greater women ’ s rights.

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women and reform

Women and Reform

Lesson 16: Reforming American Society part 4

women s rights movement emerges
Women’s Rights Movement Emerges
  • Women’s work on behalf of others eventually prompted them to improve their own lives.
  • Some women began to campaign for greater women’s rights.

Two such women were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Both had been abolitionists. In 1848, they organized a women’s right convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

It became known as the Seneca Falls convention. More than 300 women and men attended. They called for laws that guaranteed equal rights for women.
The women’s rights movement involved mostly whites. For the most part, African American women found it difficult to draw attention to their plight. One exception was Sojourner Truth.
Other women joined the temperance movement. This was an effort to ban the drinking of alcohol.

In the 1850s, this book was second only to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in popularity, selling over a million copies. William W. Pratt dramatized the tale, and the stage version played continuously in the United States from the 1850s until the 1930s, often incorporating the popular temperance song "Father, Come Home." The narrative contains examples of three drunken-man themes: one drunkard is banished to the poorhouse, leaving his family destitute; another is killed in a bar-room brawl; a third, after causing his own daughter’s death, makes a vow never to drink again and is eventually restored to respectability.

Ten Nights in a Bar room


Many women also worked to improve education – mainly for girls.
  • Until the 1820’s, American girls had little chance of an education.
Some female reformers opened schools of higher learning for girls.
  • Emma Willard opened a school for girls in New York.
Some women worked to improve women's health.
  • In the 1850’s. Catherine Beecher, a respected educator, undertook a national survey of women’s health.
She found three sick women for every healthy one.
  • One reason was that they wore clothing so restrictive that breathing sometimes was difficult.
Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from medical college.
  • She then opened a hospital for women.