Feminism started as an organized movement in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention on Women's rights, which had an attendence of around 300 people. It was here that the Declaration of Sentiments put down the foundations of women's demands. It's principle author was Elizabeth Cady Stanton and it was signed by 100 people: 68 women and 32 men.
Despite being later known as the "suffragettes," at the time of the Declaration of Sentiment's
signing, "the vote" was considered the most controversial of the
sentiments, in-so-far as it even made some of the signers hesistant to
endorse the document in its entirety.
I can see people's reactions already,, "Aha! Proof of the misogynist old days!"
it wasn't really "misogyny" that was behind it - not entirely anyways.
You have to keep in mind that this was 1848 and America's War for
Independence had finished only 65 years earlier. It was about as fresh
in the minds of the people as the Second World War is to us in the
modern day. Many people's parents had lived through the American
Revolution and their grandparents had fought in it. The people of that
time were quite aware of the principles behind the Declaration of
Independence and the nature of their rights under the framework of a Constitutional Republic.
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