Question 3: How did the anti-slavery movement influence the women’s rights movement? According to “The Journey: A History of the African American Experience Pt. 1”, abolition is defined as total and immediate ending of slavery. The movement to abolish slavery in the United States began in the 18th century. Some whites believed it was wrong to want freedom from England and still engage in slavery. Others believed that the act of slavery was moral and defended by God.
Conflicting beliefs on slavery started various abolitionist attempts that eventually grey into the anti-slavery movement (The Journey, pg. 42). The purpose of the anti-slavery abolitionist movement was to end slavery, and racial prejudice. Abolitionists were targeted by middle-class citizens who had formed anti-abolitionist organizations. In the beginning, being an active abolitionist meant facing harsh ridicule, violence, prejudice, and discrimination. As the years went on, negativity towards abolitionist still existed, but anti-slavery became a popular and safer cause to defend. As the anti-slavery movement expanded, the anti-slavery organization split into two separate organizations.
The American Anti-Slavery Society believed that political action was not the appropriate way to address abolition. They also believed that women had every right to be involved in the anti-slavery movement. Some abolitionist thought that using politics would be the most effective way to execute abolition. These members also believed that involving women would conflict with the cause and drive supporters away. Members against women involvement removed themselves from The American Anti-Slavery Society in 1840 after a woman, Abigal Kelly, was nominated to hold a leadership position.
These rouge members formed The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which denied women membership (Anti-Slavery and Women’s Rights 1830-1845). The attempt to silence women within the anti-slavery movement led to the creation of the women’s rights movement. Women had always been involved in the anti-slavery movement. They raised money, prayed, shared information, took part in the Underground Railroad, and vocally expressed their opinion on the matter. Women were important within in the anti-slavery movement, and the fact that many did not recognize, or appreciate that is what led women to start fighting for their rights.
One of the main uplifting events for women abolitionist was the creation of the Anti- Slavery Convention of American Women, in 1837. The convention allowed women to publish information, create committees, launch campaigns, and petition congress. The Convention remained an important event throughout the anti-slavery movement; it then became the Women’s Rights Convention in the remaining years of the women’s rights movement (Anti-Slavery and Women’s Rights 1830-1845). Many leaders of the women’s rights movement were key participants in the anti-slavery movement, such as Sojourner Truth.
Sojourner Truth was a freed slave, human rights speaker in the 19th century, and a preacher. Truth fully understood both the bible and constitutional law. Her knowledge allowed her to defend women from those who misused the teachings of the bible in their attacks on women’s rights. One example of her doing so was her speech at the Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. Sojourner challenged a white clergy, saying: “Where did you come from? From God and a Woman! Man has nothing to do with Him. ” (10:5) Sojourner Truth made it clear that women were important biblically, and should be appreciated at all times.
The women’s rights movement continued well after the anti-slavery movement. Female abolitionists were key participants in both movements, but did not gain their own rights till more than fifty years after the anti-slavery movement. The Thirteenth Amendment of 1865 freed slaves, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments gave rights to free blacks. Even though the Amendments gave right to freed blacks, the Fourteenth Amendments restricted the rights of women. The Fourteenth Amendment denied women the right to vote by using the word “male” for the first time in the Constitution (12:2).
Women gained their full rights with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. The anti-slavery movement directly led to the women’s rights movement. The attempt to silence women within the anti-slavery movement and the anti-slavery organization splitting into two separate organizations influenced women to fights for their rights. Women formed their own organizations and created the Anti- Slavery Convention of American Women. The Anti- Slavery Convention of American Women soon became The Women’s Rights Convention, and the commitment of abolitionist women led to the creation of the Nineteenth Amendment of 1920.