We all know that each generation has its own test, the contemporaneous and current standard by which alone it can adequately judge of its own moral achievements, and that it may not legitimately use a previous and less vigorous test. The advanced test must indeed include that which has already been attained; but if it includes no more, we shall fail to go forward, thinking complacently that we have “arrived” when in reality we have not yet started ~Jane Addams
On July 19 and 20, 1848, some three hundred brave souls, supporters of a common cause, gathered in Seneca Falls, New York. They shared a common cause, to affirm and eventually guarantee, the rights of women, including a woman’s right to vote. The enormity of their challenge is matched only by the results of the progress they envisioned, sought, and ultimately achieved.
As we grapple with the challenges that face this democracy today we may lose hope, not to mention stamina. Thinking about the Seneca Falls Convention may shed welcome light on these dark days.
To preserve and strengthen our democracy will demand nothing less than a movement of informed, committed American truth-seekers who care – and dare — to speak out, join forces and share energies towards a common purpose.
As always, we can draw strength and wisdom from those who have fought the good fight in the past. A glimpse of the humble beginnings of the Nineteenth Amendment offers a sense of how a movement is born and how it grows with time and effort. We may draw strength from a look back at the movement born at Seneca Falls some 170 years ago.
Some manageable starting points:
- “The Seneca Falls Convention” Library of Congress – Today in history. https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/july-19/
- Today in history July 20, 1848 https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/july-20 (scroll down)
- National Park Service. Report of the woman’s rights convention.https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/report-of-the-womans-rights-convention.htm
Previous posts related to ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.