This week marks the 166th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, held July 19-20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. The 300-person gathering on women’s rights is responsible for making the first formal demand for women’s suffrage in American history. One hundred sixty-six years later, the product of the Seneca Falls Convention – a document called the Declaration of Sentiments – remains one of the most important and enduring assertions of women’s equality and the right to women’s suffrage.
The men and women of the Seneca Falls Convention knew that access to the vote is not about politics, but about justice and equality. Written primarily by suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Declaration of Sentiments argues that “all men and women” are created equal, making a powerful case for correcting the inconsistency between America’s ideals and its oppressive treatment of women. The document made a powerful call for equal voting rights, declaring voting both a “duty” and a “sacred right.”
One hundred sixty-six years after the Seneca Falls Convention, we continue to fight to ensure that each and every eligible voter is treated fairly at the ballot box and has an equal right and equal access to vote. The League has been instrumental in advocating for an urgently needed update to the Voting Rights Act in order to modernize and restore key voter protections. Join us and tell your Representatives to act swiftly to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act.
The Seneca Falls Convention was an important step in the women’s suffrage movement, and it indirectly helped lead to the formation of the League of Women Voters in 1920 – the same year that women won the right to vote. Today, the men and women of our 800 state and local Leagues across the country continue the work of those who met in Seneca Falls by tirelessly fighting for free, fair and accessible elections for every American.