Women's Rights Activity from 1776-1848
Women’s Rights emerged as an issue during the American Revolution. Abigail Adams warned her husband not to adopt the repressive code of common law, or the ladies were “bound to foment a rebellion.” Still, women lost legal ground with the formation of the United States after the American Revolution. While women had voted under some conditions in the colonies, women lost the right to vote in all state constitutions between 1777 and 1807. Suffragists in 19th century maintained that they were not asking for a new right, but for the restitution of a right their foremothers possessed.
Women had developed their organizational skills a decade before the Seneca Falls convention, forming Female Anti-Slavery societies as early as 1833. By 1837, Female Anti-Slavery societies had become numerous and strong enough that they held their first national convention in New York City. Maria Weston Chapman hailed the convention as "the first general one of women ever held in our country, if not in the world."
Ernestine L. Rose and Paulina Wright Davis circulated petitions in support of an 1836 bill introduced into the New York Legislature by Judge Hertell to secure married women their rights of property. The Married Women's Property Act finally passed the legislature in the spring of 1848.