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The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady…

The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Woman's… (2004)

by Judith Wellman

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Although the subtitle refers to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Road to Seneca Falls is both a history of the 1848 Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, which started the 19th century/early 20th century woman's rights movement, and a history of the reform movements occurring in the “burned-over” district of New York State during the early/mid 19th century. These other movements including anti-slavery, various religious controversies and splits in religious bodies, New York State’s efforts in legal reform concerning women including the Married Woman’s Property Act, and, to a lesser degree, temperance led to fertile ground for the woman's rights convention. Since Elizabeth Cady Stanton was not involved in some of these other reform movements, she was not discussed in a large portion of the book.

Ms. Wellman provides a good general history of the reform movements and the people involved in them. She is good at discussing the changes in society during the nineteenth century, and the conflicts resulting from these changes, both socially and politically.

The author is particularly skillful at discussing the preparation for and the Seneca Falls convention itself and the follow-up woman’s rights convention in Rochester, NY, two weeks later. She analyzes in detail the background of the people who signed the Declaration of Sentiments at both conventions – an important feature of this book.

I enjoyed the book, but felt it needed some additional editing. Several important facts concerning Elizabeth Cady Stanton are unnecessarily repeated, and Ms. Wellman tended to refer to both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband Henry B. Stanton merely as Stanton; sometimes one needed to look carefully at the context to determine which person was being discussed. Also, a separate bibliography would have been useful since full citations are difficult to find in the detailed endnotes. ( )
  sallylou61 | May 12, 2015 |
Fantastic book on women suffrage, thoroughly enjoyed this book and have read several others that were similar. It is amazing how far women have come and it was all started in small towns like this one. Suggest this book to any and all History buffs out there. ( )
  Jamie_Calloway | Oct 14, 2013 |
The 1848 Seneca Falls convention marked the birth of the women's rights movement, anti-slavery, fully documented. Wellman covers the Convention as well as the life of woman's rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
  zoranaercegovac | Jan 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0252071735, Paperback)

Feminists from 1848 to the present have rightly viewed the Seneca Falls convention as the birth of the women's rights movement in the United States and beyond. In "The Road To Seneca Falls", Judith Wellman offers the first well documented, full-length account of this historic meeting in its contemporary context. The convention succeeded by uniting powerful elements of the antislavery movement, radical Quakers, and the campaign for legal reform under a common cause. Wellman shows that these three strands converged not only in Seneca Falls, but also in the life of women's rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It is this convergence, she argues, that foments one of the greatest rebellions of modern times. Rather than working heavy-handedly downward from their official "Declaration of Sentiments," Wellman works upward from richly detailed documentary evidence to construct a complex tapestry of causes that lay behind the convention, bringing the struggle to life. Her approach results in a satisfying combination of social, community, and reform history with individual and collective biographical elements. "The Road to Seneca Falls" challenges all of us to reflect on what it means to be an American trying to implement the belief that "all men and women are created equal," both then and now. This is a fascinating story in its own right, it is also a seminal piece of scholarship for anyone interested in history, politics, or gender.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:53 -0400)

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