French Women send Letter to Worcester ConventionFrench Convention

The first National Woman’s Rights Convention, in 1850, was significant for a number of reasons. It marked the beginning of the organized movement for women’s rights and called for the total reorganization of “all social, political, industrial interests and institutions.” The convention elected officers who were appointed to committees on education, civil and political rights, social relations, and avocations. Its final resolution, which called for “Equality before the law without distinction of sex or color,” was highly controversial because of its shocking support of equality for black women. The convention was applauded by a few local and national newspapers, but disparaged by most of them. The issues raised at the convention, however, were heard throughout the world. It became a touchstone for international feminism, inspiring coverage and essays in France, England, and Germany. Jeanne Deroin and Pauline Roland, two French socialist-feminists who were imprisoned in Paris for their political activities, praised the brave efforts of Worcester’s women in a letter to the second National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1851. Addressing the “Convention of the Women of America,” they proclaimed: “your socialist sisters of France are united with you in the vindication of the right of Woman to civil and political equality” (Anderson, 8).

Published Date: 
February 19, 2011