Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stanton on Women's Rights

                Elizabeth Stanton’s address on women’s rights is exactly what it claims to be, an address on women’s rights. However, Stanton’s work is less of an address and more of a push. Early on Stanton states that she feels it’s too early to be addressing the issue of women’s rights, so something had to have happened to cause her to write about the issue prematurely.
                One thing I noticed about the work was that Stanton’s argument was extremely religious-based. Throughout the story she references the Bible and God as pertaining to the rights of women. For instance, Stanton recollects the classic story of Adam and Eve, but puts a spin on it saying that woman and man are the same and equal under God because they were put on the same Earth and given life; one is no different than the other. The fact that man and woman are equal in God’s eyes becomes a recurrent point of Stanton’s argument. She also references the work of Paul, who stated that a wife should obey her husband. Stanton challenges this statement by arguing that this is left to interpretation to whoever is reading the Bible.
                Something else I noticed Stanton continually used for arguments sake were women in positions of power who were primarily foreign.  For instance, early on in the story she talks about the power Kerek and Mahometan women have in their respective cultures (by the way, I don’t even know what those are, so how does she?). She later continues to reference other women in power such as Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and Isabella of Spain; she even says these women did arguably better jobs than many kings did. It was interesting to me that she always referenced foreign people. To me, it felt like Stanton was giving an “everyone but us (us being America) lets women have power” vibe. This could potentially play towards readers who are striving towards strengthening America as an independent country because, according to Stanton, America will never reach its full potential unless men and women unite.
 It was interesting to me how much evidence and fact Stanton used to back up her points. It was almost like she was writing a research paper where you are supposed to have the dreaded concrete details to back up your points!
Stanton also touched a lot on the equality of women, or lack thereof. She again explains that women are equal to man and should be treated as so, or the nation will never reach its full potential. She cites examples of inferiority by talking about women being solely responsible for household chores, and wives being suppressed by their husbands. This seemed to be the norm then, which reminded me a lot of Keith’s comment in class about how his girlfriend was taught that women clean and men labor.
As far as questions about the text go, I have a few. First, what is the Seneca Falls Convention? On page 3, paragraph 3, what is the 21 in the “stripling of 21?” Age? Finally, why is so much of Stanton’s work torn away at the end?


  1. Stanton's speech had to have "the dreaded concrete details to back up [her] points." Otherwise, no one would listen. Can an effective argument be made without sufficient supporting details?

    Did you look up Seneca Falls? If so, what did you find?

  2. I did look up Seneca Falls and I found out that it was an early women's rights movement during the Second Great Awakening that pushed for women's equality to men, including suffrage.

    I don't think that an effective argument can be made without sufficient supporting details. Although someone can be a very eloquent and convincing speaker or writer and be somewhat persuasive, without sufficient details the argument falters. The details serve to reinforce the point the author is trying to convey. Without sufficient details, the argument, no matter how convincingly the speaker/writer portrays it, will always be deficient and able to be invalidated.