The Day by Day History of the
Second Day of Seneca Falls Convention
July 20, 1848
Today, women in the United States can vote,
own property, and hold political office, but it wasn't always
this way. One hundred fifty years ago, women did not have the
same privileges as men in many ways, and they had to fight for
their rights. In July 1848, a group of women and men interested
in discussing the position of women in American society met at
the Seneca Falls Convention in New York. On the second day of
the convention, July 20, 1848, the people in attendance
discussed Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "Declaration of Rights and
Sentiments," which she had read the day before.
assembled group also considered and voted on a number of
resolutions, 11 of which were passed by a large majority and
without much argument. The one point that was met with strong
opposition was the following:
"Resolved, That it is the duty
of the women of this country to secure to themselves their
sacred right to the elective franchise [the right to vote]."
In the end, after great debate, "The Declaration of Rights
and Sentiments" passed unanimously and was signed by 68 women
and 32 men in attendance. Abolitionist leader Frederick
Douglass, a former slave, stood with Stanton at the convention
and argued forcefully for women's right to vote.
fight for women's equal rights was a long, hard battle. After
the signing of "The Declaration of Rights and Sentiments" in
1848, it took 72 years of organized struggle before most women
won the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution was passed in 1920. (In some states, women had the
right to vote in state and federal elections before passage of
the 19th Amendment in 1920.) How far have women come since then?