ASSIGNMENT: Who Is A Person In America?

1848 Seneca Falls Convention
Reyna L.

A document from the Seneca Falls Convention which states the names of the men and women who signed the Declaration of Sentiments (Seneca Falls Convention. 1848. American Treasures of The Library of Congress. Web. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://www.loc.gov>. )

A postage stamp from 1848 recognising Stanton, Catt, and Mott who were 3 leaders of the Seneca Falls Convention (Postage Stamp Women's Rights. 1848. Speaking of Womens Rights. Web. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://speakingofwomensrights.blogspot.com>)

Write a journal/newspaper style article in which you take a neutral stance (as a reporter) and give the facts about the actual event. What led up to the event? What happened during the actual event? Did it have an “end” or is it unresolved? You are to write about this event when it happened, you are assuming the role of a reporter in 1850, 1920, etc., not someone looking back from 2011. You need to cite your sources, and they must include information only available during that time period. At least one source must be primary and/or an eyewitness account. Important - This work will be submitted to TurnItIn.com. We will provide you information about using this helpful resource!

Women Take a Stand Against Discrimination
July 21st, 1848
Reyna Lusson

NEW YORK— Men and women of all ages met on July 19th and 20th at the Seneca Falls Convention to fight for equality of rights between the genders.

240 civil rights activists, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York on Wednesday, July 19th,and Thursday, July 20th, in order to “protest against a form of government existing without the consent of the governed” (Stanton). The primary mission of the convention was to raise awareness about women’s rights, and to gradually change the customs, laws, and social standards that have been denying women their civil liberties.

In order to achieve their goal, the convention-goers wrote the Declaration of Sentiments —a document intended to “declare [a woman’s] right to be free as man is free” (Stanton). The declaration, formatted similarly to the Declaration of Independence, includes all of the civil rights laws that women feel they deserve, reasons why they should attain these rights, and finally, reasons why making these laws would help America as a nation.

According to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, every American citizen has suffrage (the right to vote), the right to hold government positions, the right to divorce, and the right to their possessions. These are only a few out of the many natural rights discussed in the Declaration of Sentiments that women are fighting for.

The document argues that granting women their rights would help everyone, since America is not yet “great and virtuous”, and this is because “the women are slaves”. They say that men cannot reach their full potential without the help of women (Stanton).

The 240 attendees of the Seneca Falls Convention met in order to “discuss [women’s] rights and wrongs, civil and political” (Stanton), and they did just that. With the feeling that they had been deprived of the basic human rights that every American should be granted, the activists say that they will keep fighting until “equality of rights” is reached at last (Mankiller).


Mankiller, Wilma. "Seneca Falls." eLibrary. N.p., 1 Dec. 1998. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. <http://elibrary.bigchalk.com>.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. "Address to the First Women's Rights Convention." American Women's History Online. Facts on File, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2011. <http://www.fofweb.com>.

Task 1: Mastery Rubric

A quality news article will:

•open with an attention-grabbing headline

•identify the author's name and the date of the publication (in the past)

•develop the 5 W's in three power paragraphs

•paragraph 1: contain an interesting lead

•paragraph 2: correctly cite a secondary source (an indirect quote)

•paragraph 3: correctly cite a primary source (eyewitness account)

•maintain appropriate journalistic voice

•read like an article written in the same time period as the event occurred

•be free of mechanics and Works Cited errors


The Argument: Should women be granted full personhood in American society?

PROMPT 1: Why did the majority of Americans not recognize the rights of members of this group?

Culturally, women have not been considered persons in the history of the United States, from colonial times until the present; this gave many men reason to believe that women should not be considered people, socially or legally. Women have been considered property, not people, for 1000s of years, and this is the result of religion, society, and culture. Henry J. Sage, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, says that even in colonial America, “women were considered to be the “weaker vessels,” not as strong physically or mentally as men and less emotionally stable”. They had less rights and privileges, and this system worked out. Women “could by no means be considered to have been held equal to men” (Sage), and this seemed to be the best way of doing things. Seeing as the philosophy that women have less personhood than men has worked throughout the history of countless successful countries, then people saw no reason to change this idea simply to fit demands of modern, outspoken women. Many men felt that women should hold their rightful place in our society as property, not as people.

PROMPT 2: How did advocates for the minority group shed light on this injustice?

Women are created differently than men—this is a fact that we have known for centuries—but many people feel that they are by no means less of a person. Women make up over half of the American public, and so women felt that men have no right to override their opinions, offer them less pay for equal work, or, most importantly, deny them their natural rights that every American citizen should be granted. According to The Women’s International Center, a non-profit education and service public charity, many women’s rights activists “saw parallels between the position of women and that of the slaves” ("Women's History in America"). These women felt that every United States citizen, whether then be black or white, man or women, should be given the same set of natural rights that were described in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution ("Women's History in America"). Many people believe that although women have different talents and abilities than men do, this is no reason to say that a women is less of a person than a man.

Sage, Henry J. "Women in Colonial America." Academic Americn History. N.p.,

2007. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://www.academicamerican.com>.
"Women's History in America." Women's International Center. N.p., 1995. Web. 27

Sept. 2011. <http://www.wic.org>.


Ain’t I a woman?
Sojourner Truth

That man over there say
a woman needs to be helped into carriages
and lifted over ditches
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helped me into carriages
or over mud puddles

or gives me a best place. . .
And ain't I a woman?
Look at me
Look at my arm!
I have plowed and planted
and gathered into barns
and no man could head me. . .
And ain't I a woman?
I could work as much
and eat as much as a man--
when I could get to it--
and bear the lash as well
and ain't I a woman?

I have born 13 children
and seen most all sold into slavery
and when I cried out a mother's grief
none but Jesus heard me. . .
and ain't I a woman?
that little man in black there say
a woman can't have as much rights as a man
cause Christ wasn't a woman
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!
If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world
upside down, all alone
together women ought to be able to turn it
rightside up again.

Truth, Sojourner. Women Writers. Ed. Erelene Stetson. N.p., May 2003. Web. 3
Oct. 2011. <http://www.womenwriters.net>.

Paragraph 1: Analyze the impact of the literary or artistic work for the minority group and/or American society as a whole.

When the Seneca Falls Convention was held in 1848, it not only caused white women to challenge their place in society, but it also caused African-American women to women why they themselves should not have rights as American citizens. Sojourner Truth, a black women born in 1797, was the voice of black women all across America, demanding freedom and equality; She gave her “Aint I a Women” speech in 1851 at a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio; in addition to women’s rights, Truth spoke about abolitionism, rights and education for blacks, and religion. In her speech, Truth says “That man over there say/ a woman needs to be helped into carriages/ and lifted over ditches/ and to have the best place everywhere/ Nobody ever helped me into carriages/or over mud puddles /or gives me a best place/ And ain't I a woman?” (Truth). Sojourner Truth was one of the many people who reacted to the women’s rights movement in America, questioning customs and beliefs that had been accepted for centuries, and paving a new path for both the African-American and the female population.

Paragraph 2: CLOSING-- How did the event impact the debate on the argument?

The Seneca Falls Convention was a time for women of all backgrounds, religions, and social statuses to unite in a struggle for women to gain the civil rights that were entitled to them in the Constitution. The convention was a way of formalizing and writing down the ideas that had been occupying the minds of American women for decades. These women used the convention to get organized; they wrote a Declaration of Sentiments—a document that stated the wrongs done against women, the rights that they wanted to gain, and reasons why it would benefit America to make these changes. The steps made by women at the Seneca Falls Convention were vital to the women’s rights movement, and they got future women’s rights activists off in the right direction.

TASK III: Artistic Expression Element Rubric
An outstanding product will.
•showcase a work that expresses a profound idea about your event and the argument surrounding it
•be the best example available, not simply the first one you find
•demonstrate your ability to interpret the meaning of the literary or artistic piece
•use the extended power paragraph format as a means to express your understanding of the event, argument, and how art literature and art
can reveal emotions and ideas You make good a good connection between the poem and your event. Can you deepen your analysis of the emotions in the poem?
•reference sources accurately
•mechanics are clean and effective
Rubric for the Time Line Page
An outstanding time line entry includes the following:
• Opens by identifying you, the author, and your event with a banner headline (see an example of a banner on the top of this page).
• Under the banner, in the table place two graphics or photos that illustrates an important aspect of the event.
• Thoughtful responses to each prompt are supported by credible sources representing diverse perspectives on the event.
Each response should be posted in order (follow template instructions), contain few mechanic errors and follow the power paragraph format.
• The credibility of each cited source is established and internal citations accurately match the Works Cited.• TASK I and TASK II each introduce and cite two new sources; TASK III cites one new source.• The Works Cited lists 5 credible sources from the LC databases.