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Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement

(Pivotal Moments in American History)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  30 reviews
In a quiet town of Seneca Falls, New York, over the course of two days in July, 1848, a small group of women and men, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, held a convention that would launch the woman's rights movement and change the course of history. The implications of that remarkable convention would be felt around the world and indeed are still being felt ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 9th 2008)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  259 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Collier Brown
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-inventory
McMillen's Seneca Falls fills a gap in the history of American women's suffrage often skimmed or skipped in historical surveys. Beginning with the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848--sponsored, led, and organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Quaker minster Lucretia Mott--McMillen, with the aid of two other important suffragists Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony, guides us down the long path toward the nineteenth amendment, which was not to enter into law for some seventy-plus years. That's quite an exp ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement is a thorough account and analysis of the convention that began to galvanize women to organize around suffrage, rights for divorce, and other issues that became the mainstay of the women's rights movement. This book focuses on the four women who became prominent as activists (Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton). It details the lives of these women and how they tirelessly campaigned for women's rights. ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This is a pretty decent overview of the issues facing women in the mid-19th century, and MacMillen does an excellent job of illustrating the context in which the Seneca Falls convention occurred. She also paints a vivid picture of the squabbles and in-fighting that characterized the movement in the late 19th century; one wonders if the franchise might have been secured earlier if only the movement's leaders had been applying their efforts to a unified cause instead of to competing with each othe ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Straight forward. Educational (I assume - I skimmed most of it). Dry.
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of the early American women's movement by focusing on the 1848 women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and on four women who played key roles in establishing and promoting women's rights and suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone are featured in the book.

Since this book focuses on the active lives of four women, only one of whom lived to cast a ballot in a national election, it provides details of the women's right
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! This was a very engaging, informative read! I was vaguely aware of the connections between the abolitionist movement and early women's rights activism, and also the division in the movement over black enfranchisement, but now I know so much more. Many important themes still relevant today.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I have assigned this for an undergraduate class on 19th Century women's rights and reforms. I thought it was solid, and will serve that purpose well.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It mostly boggles my mind that such an interesting topic can be written so boringly.
Carolyn Fagan
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gives and excellent overview of the beginning of the women's rights movement and the main characters involved.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
I loved this book! It is about the first women's movement in the United States. I had to read it for one of my history classes and loved every minute of it. This movement in history is overshadowed by the Civil War and the events that followed the ending of the Civil War and the Emancipation. Though this book is a nonfiction book, I fell in love the women who fought for their rights and stood their ground in a time when women were considered property. Many believed these women should have been l ...more
Andrea Dowd
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was so excited to read a book about the Seneca Falls convention on women's rights in 1848. Instead, I got a primer on the history of women's rights movement in the U.S. There is a short chapter on the convention but even half of that chapter has little to do with the actual convention. Misleading nonfiction titles annoy me. With as many people who attended the convention and the number of very literate and well written women who attended, you would think McMillen could take more first hand acc ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book. It's the story of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and the effects of that gathering. The book focuses on the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone but also covers Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony. The issues were complex, involving much more than the franchise. Marriage status and property rights as well as career and education opportunities were almost more important. The meeting of such women, their lives and the reception of th ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
If it wasn't for my book club I would never have picked up this book. It was written by a history professor and it's not the leisure reading that I enjoy doing. The reason I give it two stars instead of one is because there is a lot of factual historical information and you can tell that it's well researched. Overall I didn't finish reading it. It was just too dense of material for summer reading for me.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
In 2013 as we seeks gun restrictions, still struggle for same-sex marriage to be accepted and many other critical issues, it has been interesting to read of the struggles of those who sought to give women the right to vote. It won't encourage your enthusiasm for the politicians of either era but may make us realize patience has been necessary before.
The book needed another editing and could have been shorter but you do get a solid view of the four women who led the fight.
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
A deft historical narrative that is also an inspiring testament to the power of self-mobilization and grassroots activism. Most of the information can be found in your average college history textbook, and the book often reads like one, but this is a well-meaning and hopeful read. The meeting of the title is granted only the briefest of treatments, but the scope is compact yet broad enough to give a general view. There are probably better books out there, but there are certainly worse.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, history, feminism
This was a good overview of the key figures and events in the first wave of feminism, but it lacked some of the narrative drive of the histories that I enjoy most. It didn't seem to bring the four key personalities--Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Anthony, and Lucy Stone--to life with much vitality.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, I couldn't put this darn thing down. I found this book to be a very thorough history of the women's rights movement. It was well written in a style that made it quite readable for a wide audience. I really enjoyed the way in which the author humanized icons like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Overall, well worth anyone's time to read.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very detailed and insightful telling of the women's rights movement that gained ground at The Seneca Falls Convention. McMillen guides the story with ease and digs into the positives and negatives that followed the journey. Although these strong, fearless and determined women never saw the vote happen (all except one), it can be said that they would be pleased with this honest book.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Super interesting topic, but I would have appreciated a denser introduction to the topic. I was especially interested to learn about the rights that women were lacking outside of voting and about the interplay between women's rights and race/abolition.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A really wonderful, in-depth look at the broad group of women who worked for suffrage, not just the ones we know so well. As always, I am amazed how few rights women once had. Wow. Well researched, could be a textbook for women's studies, history, etc.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating and thorough- but still completely readable- account of the beginning of the women's suffrage movement. This part of America's history is so often overlooked or not given enough attention, we need more books like this!
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An excellent look at the powerhouse women who started and guided the Women's Rights movement in America. I wish I could have met a couple of them or at the very least, heard them speak. They sounded like amazing women.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to the Women's Rights Movement. If you are looking for a premier to build up your basic knowledge of Seneca Falls and the major players of this movement in the 19th Century, a great place to start. Accessible and informative.
Maryellen Davidson
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and through history of the hard work of the fight to win voting rights for women.
Just writing this to remind myself I read it - a good overview of the early women's rights movement, starting in around the 1840s and culminating with the 19th amendment.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Diane by: Cairnwood Book Club
Remarkably thorough, and engaging to read. Probably the one book to read to gain a comprehensive grounding in the movement and its primary figures, female and male.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great easy read that should make everyone appreciate the right to vote!
May 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, upstate-ny
Mainly a gloss of nineteenth century American femininism, actually very little about Seneca Falls.
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nook, feminism
Great history of the early women's movement. But it ends in 1870! How unsatisfying!
Lauren Groseclose
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great insight into the lives of women who dedicated their lives to this movement!
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Sally G. McMillen is the Mary Reynolds Babcock Professor of History at Davidson College in North Carolina, where she has taught since 1988.

Other books in the series

Pivotal Moments in American History (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam: The Battle that Changed the Course of the Civil War
  • Brown V. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy
  • Rainbow's End: The Crash of 1929
  • Washington's Crossing
  • Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
  • All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America
  • The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America
  • James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights
  • Storm over Texas: The Annexation Controversy and the Road to Civil War
  • Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice
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