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Women's History
The First U.S. Women's Rights Movement (1800s)

The First U.S. Women's Rights Movement (1800s)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.29

     challenging words:    employment, convention, better, equality, custody, unofficial, beginning, intelligent, anti-slavery, society, totally, campaign, gradual, gain, claim, effort
     content words:    American Revolution, Mary Wollstonecraft, Seneca Falls, New York, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, United States, Civil War, National Woman Suffrage Association, Cady Stanton

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The First U.S. Women's Rights Movement (1800s)
By Sharon Fabian

1     In the 1800s, the pioneer days of our country were about over. Things were beginning to settle into a routine. People were not struggling to survive in the same way that they had been years before. They had time to think about other things that were on their minds. This was the time when women began to think seriously about their rights. Women did not have the same rights as men. Many women began to think that it was time to do something about it.
2     Women's rights was not a totally new idea. As far back as the American Revolution, when Americans fought for freedom and democracy, some people hoped that this would include democracy for women too. That didn't happen. Women who worked as nurses in the Revolution and other wars had important work to do, but only unofficial jobs. Women worked as teachers, but often were denied higher education themselves. In the 1800s when people began to live in cities and work in factories, the inequalities between men and women became more obvious. Many women felt that they needed to claim their rights. Mary Wollstonecraft, a writer from England, wrote what many women were feeling: Women were equal to men and so should have equal rights.
3     Women's groups were already active in America, working for changes that they felt were important to society. There were temperance societies that worked to end alcohol use. Missionary societies worked to spread the Christian faith. Other women's groups worked to aid the poor. Soon, a new type of women's group appeared. These groups of women worked to gain equal rights for women. Sometimes called feminist groups, these women worked for higher education, property rights, custody rights, and voting rights for women.

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