History of Women’s Rights in the News

A renewed search is on for the original signed copy of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions from the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.

Megan Smith, who served in President Obama’s administration, has announced that a new plan to locate the original document.

“We’d like to find the original,” Smith said, “and give it the correct position of prominence it deserves with the Charters of Freedom in the rotunda of the National Archives.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the convention, which deliberated on a series of resolutions for women’s rights that became the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions.

When male politicians and journalists mocked the women who met at the Seneca Falls Convention, Stanton wrote that: “No words could express what seemed to us so timely, so rational, and so sacred, should be a subject for sarcasm and ridicule to the entire press of the nation.”

The New York Times reports that “A scholar of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ann D. Gordon, wrote a blog post in 2015 criticizing the search for the declaration as ‘Megan Smith’s romantic quest for something truer or more authentic.’ In fact, other historians see Ms. Smith’s public search as a Quixotic quest because the content of the Declaration of Sentiments is widely available.”

Nonetheless, Smith’s search for the document has arguably renewed interest in the history of women’s rights in the news media in the United States.

“For Ms. Gordon, the renewed attention on a document that is lesser known in American history has served as a reminder of the never-ending fight for women’s rights,” according to The New York Times.

Gordon commented: “Maybe what we learn is that this generation of women could think a whole lot of it through and lay down some rules, and then we only later discovered how hard it would be to implement that.”

It is refreshing to see women’s historians like Ann D. Gordon being interviewed by journalists and to have women’s history featured in major newspapers.

The New York Times reports on the Seneca Falls declaration.

This entry was posted in Archival Research, History in the Media, Human Rights, Political Culture, Women and Gender History. Bookmark the permalink.

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