Suffragists: Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement - THE FIGHT BEGINS

Benjamin Blyth (1746-1811) created these pastel-on-paper portraits of Abigail and John Adams around 1766. Abigail Adams, an early American feminist, not only urged her husband to "remember the ladies"—as he and his committee worked on the Declaration of Independence—she also told her friend, Mercy Otis Warren, that "I think I will get you to join me in a petition to Congress." Why would Abigail want to petition Congress? Because if the men drafting the Declaration did not "remember the Ladies," Abigail "assured him [John, that is] we would not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we had neither a voice, nor representation." 


Who were early champions of women’s rights? Some of the following Americans are still famous. Others are largely forgotten, except by scholars.

  • In 1776, while her husband John worked on the Declaration of Independence (with four other delegates to the Continental Congress), Abigail Adams reminded him to “remember the ladies.” Notwithstanding her admonition, the Declaration states only that “all men are created equal.”

  • In 1821, Emma Hart Willard founded the first endowed school for girls - the Troy Female Seminary.

  • Born a few years after the first American president took office, Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) died the year before President Garfield was assassinated. She was an early pioneer who struggled for American women to have fair and equal treatment.

  • A less well-known suffragist, Abigail Scott Duniway (1834-1915), signed her portrait “Yours For Liberty.”

  • Paulina W. Davis (1821-1893) helped to open the medical profession to women.

  • Esther Morris, in 1870, was the first woman in America to hold a judicial position when she was appointed a Justice of the Peace in South Pass District, Wyoming..

  • In 1840, while Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were both in London (where their husbands were delegates to the World Convention on Anti-Slavery), they talked about having a Women’s Rights Convention. Perhaps it was a logical discussion since women were not allowed to participate in that Anti-Slavery Convention.
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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2011

Updated Last Revision: May 17, 2019

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"THE FIGHT BEGINS" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2011. Feb 29, 2020.
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