More abolitionist patriarchies


More abolitionist patriarchies


ElizCadyStanton’s feminism was ignited watching her mentor Lucretia Mott be denied credentials at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840.

I knew that, but I didn’t know the backstory: fissures in the US abolitionist movement over women’s participation. Long thread.

Wm Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist fervor led him to reject American govt & the Constitution entirely.

(FWIW Frederick Douglass disagreed, insisting the Constitution was fixable. IMO, rejecting it requires high confidence _you_ will have a say in the rewrite.💕 @heidibschreck)

By 1839, a split developed between the Garrisonian anarchists and a more pragmatic faction: political abolitionists, led by Elizabeth Cady’s cousin Gerrit Smith & a politician named Henry Stanton who wd become her husband. They thought those who could vote against slavery should.

Henry Stanton and the political abolitionists quit the American Anti-Slavery Society. Ironically given his fiance’s nascent feminism, their exit created opportunity for women. If the Garrisonians weren’t voting or running for office, women’s political disability was irrelevant.

Women like Abby Kelley (later Foster) seized the opportunity. She toured and lectured against slavery nationwide & helped launch Female AntiSlavery Conventions, a new idea, in 1837 & 1838.

In 1840 she was nominated to a seat on the board of the American Anti-Slavery Society. At the Society’s annual meeting on May 12, 1840, objection to Kelley’s participation was lodged.

A vote was called: 557 in her favor; 451 against. 3 men quit the committee rather than serve with her; they created a breakaway abolitionist group that barred women from leadership. Just one month after insulting Abby Kelley, a who’s who of American abolitionists went to London, all looking for validation.

Kathryn Kish Sklar explains that the issue of women’s participation was hotly anticipated, and not at all peripheral. She writes: “More than an abstract principle was contested here. The "woman question" became the means by which each side of the divided American movement was struggling to gain the extremely influential moral support and access to the extensive financial resources of the British movement.”

Lucretia Mott and the other women in the delegation - all accomplished abolitionist leaders in Philadelphia and Boston - were refused credentials. Garrison and 3 other men, inc. African-American Charles Remond (brother of Sarah), sat with the women in protest.

ElizCadyStanton wasn’t a delegate; she was accompanying her new husband. Lucretia Mott was the most memorable part of their honeymoon: “...the greatest wonder of the world--a woman who thought and had opinions of her own." #Suffrage100 


Daily Suffragist




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Daily Suffragist, “More abolitionist patriarchies,” Daily Suffragist, accessed June 20, 2024,

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