Rights are such a funny thing to think about. What are they? Essentially, I would boil them down to societies expectations of what an individual is entitled to by simply existing. Those expectations change throughout time, and we keep getting used to them and asking for more. We often don’t think about what it is like to not have rights though. Not long ago, that was a distinct reality for many people. Interestingly, we may think of race as the main thing that has historically held our rights back, but we forget that only 100 years ago (a blip in the sense of human history) women were not included in the rights that men held. Remembering that fact, I sought out to find what many consider to be the birthplace of Women’s Rights.
So today I drove to Seneca Falls which is a small town on the northern side of Cayuga Lake. The entire area is really a joy to drive through. Thick forests hug the sides of the roads and dark shades of forest green overtake the scenery. The smell of mud and earth fills the nostrils and sounds of life echo through the air, into the distance. I highly recommend getting lost on a nearby hike or catching the sunset over the lake. But that’s just the surrounding area. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Once you drive into town, you will be greeted by the Wesleyan Chapel and this is where the magic happened. Right here, on July 19th 1848, the first Womans Right’s Convention was held. Having held political rallies for events supporting issues such as abolition, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott decided it was the premier location for their rally on suffrage. A Declaration of Sentiments was made, using the Declaration of independence as a inspiration but specifically stating “all men and women are created equal” instead of just “all men.”
A crowd of about 3000 people ended showing up, and the women proposed multiple grievances, including the right to vote. Astoundingly, they even had Frederick Douglas speak about Suffrage.
Today the church has been rebuilt, using as much of the original material as possible. A visitor center is next door offering a small history lesson about the suffrage movement. Local buildings are covered in murals dedicated to heroes of the movement. It really is a beautiful story in a beautiful small town.
Closest Supercharger Syracuse NY 44 mi
441 Electronics Pkwy, Liverpool, NY 13088
Seneca Falls, NY 13148