Cady Stanton, DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS (Seneca Falls
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a
position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one
to which the law of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever
any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to
insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation
on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence
indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be
changed for light and transient causes and accordingly all experience
hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which
they were accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them
under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government,
and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the
patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which
they are entitled.
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the
establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts
be submitted to a candid world.
He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the
He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she
had no voice.
He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant
and degraded men--both natives and foreigners.
Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective
franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of
legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she
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. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise
obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her
master--the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to
He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper
causes, and in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the
children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of
women--the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the
supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.
After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single, and
the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which
recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from
those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty
remuneration. He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and
distinction which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher
of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education,
all colleges being closed against her.
He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a subordinate
position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the
ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in
the affairs of the Church.
He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a
different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies
which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated, but deemed of
little account in man.
He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his
right to assign for a sphere of action, when that belongs to conscience
and to her God.
He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her
confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make
willing to lead a dependent and abject life. Now, in view of this entire
disfranchisement one-half the people of this country, their social and
religious degradation--in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and
because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently
deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate
admission to all the rights and privileges which long to them as
citizens of the United States.
In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small
amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall
use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We
shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National
legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our
behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of
Conventions embracing every part of the country.
(Lucretia Mott, Thomas and Mary Ann McClintock, Amy Post, Catherine
A. F. Steffins, and other, discussed these resolutions, which were later
WHEREAS, The great precept of nature is conceded to be, that
"man shall pursue his own true and substantial happiness."
Blackstone in his Commentaries remarks, that this law of Nature being
coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior
in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all
countries and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if
contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force,
and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and
immediately, from this original; therefore,
Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and
substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of
nature and of no validity, for this is "superior in obligation to
Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a
station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her
in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept
of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.
Resolved, That woman is man's equal--was intended to be so by the
Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be
recognized as such.
Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened in
regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer
publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their
present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all
the rights they want.
Resolved, That insasmuch as man, while claiming for himself
intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is
pre-eminently his duty to encourage her to speak and teach, as she has
an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.
Resolved, That the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of
behavior that is required of woman in the social state, should also be
required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with
equal severity on both man and woman.
Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is
so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience,
comes with a very ill-grace from those who encourage, by their
attendance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in feats of
Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the
circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application
of the scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she
should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned
Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure
to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.
Resolved, That the equality of human rights results necessarily from
the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and
Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the
same capabilities, and the same consciousness of responsibility for
their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally
with man, to promote every righteous cause by every righteous means, and
especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is
self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching
them, both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any
instrumentalities proper to be used, and many assemblies proper to be
held; and this being a self-evident truth growing out of the divinely
implanted principles of human nature, any custom or authority adverse to
it, whether modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be
regarded as a self-evident falsehood, and at war with mankind.
Resolved, That the speedy success of our cause depends upon the
zealous and untiring efforts of both men and women, for the overthrow of
the monopoly of the pulpit, and for the securing to woman an equal
participation with men in the various trades, professions, and commerce.
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