How a tea party kicked off the suffragette movement in America
The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution granted American women the right to vote in 1920 — a right known as women’s suffrage. The same thing that got the ball rolling for the sufferage movement is the same thing that got the ball rolling for the nation’s independence over 100 years earlier: a tea party.
Let’s get together for tea
While women were granted the right to vote in 1920, the women’s suffrage movement began long before the turn of the 20th century. On July 9,1848, Jane Hunt — a well-to-do New York woman — hosted a tea party with various Quaker women. This tea party would be the beginning of an important era in American history.
Hunt invited three fellow Quaker women to the tea party: Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, and Mary Ann McClintock. Hunt’s last guest wasn’t a Quaker, but she was very influential in getting the women’s suffrage movement started: Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Talking about their status
Stanton, one of the leading figures of the early women’s rights movement, talked to her friends at the tea party about the many issues surrounding women in their society. As they talked, they began to hone in on the issues that made their lives nearly unbearable.
For example, women couldn’t get into the upper levels of education or vote. Their properties belonged to their husbands or fathers. They felt chained to the moral codes that women were supposed to be flawless and obedient to the men in their lives.
The women came to a conclusion that afternoon: Enough is enough.
Time for change
The women decided to host a convention — now known as the infamous Seneca Falls convention. It drew hundreds of attendees. The convention is best remembered as the spark that kindled the women’s suffrage movement.
In addition, the women at the tea party drafted an agenda and organizing document that envisioned an equality between men and women. While it took nearly 75 years for their plans to be realized, modern women have those ladies to thank — for never giving up and believing everyone, regardless of gender, is created equal.