Culture and Society

How did the U.S. feminist movement begin to gather momentum?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The abolitionist movement of the early 19th century helped fuel the feminist movement. Women had few rights at that time - they had no legal or property rights or economic independence. Angelina and Sarah Grimke were famous abolitionists who spoke publicly in front of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Their speech was viciously criticized, and Sarah Grimke wrote "Letters on the Equality of the Sexes", in 1838 in response. Ten years later, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott arranged the Seneca Falls Convention, which set the stage for the suffrage movement. In 1860, the Married Women's Property Act was passed. Joan Kelly, author of "Women, History and Theory", says that among other things, the act established joint child custody and the rights of women to own property. In 1920, women were given the legal right to vote.

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