In 1848, after years of planning, Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott gathered three hundred women and men at Seneca Falls in New York state. They wrote a declaration, telling of all the ways they felt women were being wronged. It said: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal. . . . Firmly relying on the triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration ."
One hundred people signed the Seneca Falls Declaration ; thirty-two of them were men. Did anyone pay attention to the declaration? Yes, indeed. But it wasn't always a good kind of attention. Listen to what Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: "No words could express our astonishment on finding, a few days afterward, that what seemed to us so timely, so rational, and so sacred, should be a subject for sarcasm and ridicule to the entire press of the nation. So pronounced was the popular voice against us that most of the ladies who had attended the convention and signed the declaration, one by one, withdrew their names and influence and joined our persecutors."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton may have been discouraged, but that didn't stop her. She had started something that would grow like a rolling snowball. Women's rights conventions were soon held in Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the city of New York. The men and women who met in those conventions, and all those who worked for women's rights, were called reformers. One of them, Amelia Bloomer , wore long pantaloons under her short dresses, and tried to talk other women into that fashion. But people threw stones at the "bloomer girls" and laughed at them. Amelia said, "Men call us angels but at the same time they are subjecting us to virtual slavery."