Voices of Women's Reform


Textbooks often emphasize the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 and the Declaration of Sentiments calling for women’s suffrage as the core of the 19th-century women’s reform movement. Many women, however, had other ideas for promoting social change.

Read about four 19th-century activists, below, and then decide which woman held each of the views that follow:

  • Catharine Beecher, a supporter of education for women and of valuing women’s domestic and child-rearing roles;
  • Lucretia Mott, a Quaker minister and abolitionist who helped organize the Seneca Falls Convention;
  • Frances Watkins Harper, an abolitionist, teacher, and author, who criticized oppression based on race, gender, and class; and
  • Frances Wright, a lecturer and writer known for her attacks on organized religion, slavery, and the oppression of women.