text below is
the Declaration of Sentiments adopted by the 1848 Women's Rights
in Seneca Falls, New York. Many of its words and phrases were
chosen to parallel those of the Declaration of Independence of
For ease of reading on a computer screen, the text has been paragraphed and set with bullets consistent with modern style, and some key passages have been highlighted in red.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves, by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.
Firmly relying upon the
the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this
Lucretia Mott Harriet Cady Eaton Margaret Pryor Elizabeth Cady Stanton Eunice Newton Foote Mary Ann McClintock Margaret Schooley Martha C. Wright Jane C. Hunt Amy Post Catharine F. Stebbins Mary Ann Frink Lydia Mount Delia Mathews Catharine C. Paine Elizabeth W. McClintock Malvina Seymour Phebe Mosher Catharine Shaw Deborah Scott Sarah Hallowell Mary McClintock Mary Gilbert Sophrone Taylor Cynthia Davis Hannah Plant Lucy Jones Sarah Whitney Mary H. Hallowell Elizabeth Conklin Sally Pitcher Mary Conklin Susan Quinn Mary S. Mirror Phebe King Julia Ann Drake Charlotte Woodward Martha Underhill Dorothy Mathews Eunice Barker Sarah R. Woods Lydia Gild Sarah Hoffman Elizabeth Leslie Martha Ridley Rachel D. Bonnel Betsey Tewksbury Rhoda Palmer Margaret Jenkins Cynthia Fuller Mary Martin P. A. Culvert Susan R. Doty Rebecca Race Sarah A. Mosher Mary E. Vail Lucy Spalding Lavinia Latham Sarah Smith Eliza Martin Maria E. Wilbur Elizabeth D. Smith Caroline Barker Ann Porter Experience Gibbs Antoinette E. Segur Hannah J. Latham Sarah Sisson
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