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Lucretia Mott
Declaration of Sentiments
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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 were
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.

He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the
elective franchise.

He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which
she had no voice.

He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant
and degraded men - both natives and foreigners.

Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective
franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls
of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.

He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages
she earns.

He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can
commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the
presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is
compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming,
to all intents and purposes, her master-- the law giving him
power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer
chastisement.

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the
proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the
guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly
regardless of the happiness of women-- the law, in all cases,
going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of man,
and giving all power into his hands.

After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single
and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a
government which recognizes her only when her property
can be made profitable to it.

He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments,
and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but
a scanty remuneration.

He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and
distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a
teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.

He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education
-- all colleges being closed against her.

He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a subordinate
position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the
ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation
in the affairs of the Church.

He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world
a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral
delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only
tolerated but deemed of little account in man.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as
his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs
to her conscience and to her God.

He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her
confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to
make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people
of this country, their social and religious degradation,-- in view of
the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel
themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of
their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate
admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them
as citizens of the United States.

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 final triumph of the Right and the True, we
do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.



(This "Declaration of Sentiments" was drafted by Lucretia Mott,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha C. Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and
Jane C. Hunt. It was unanimously adopted and signed by 32 men
and 68 women at the Woman's Rights Convention held in the
Wesleyan Chapel at Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19-20, 1848.)
 

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