First Feminist wave

First Wave Feminists

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We know Alice Paul as the suffragist leader who achieved passage of the 19th Amendment and authored the original Equal Rights Amendment. But when Paul met Feminists for Life co-founder Pat Goltz, Paul told Pat that FFL was not the first pro-life feminist group. Alice Paul said she and other first-wave feminists opposed abortion too.

The same belief in human rights that inspired abolition became the undulating impulse that gave birth to feminism.

The first feminists—who had no legal right to vote, testify on their own behalf, or sit on a jury—affirmed the fundamental liberty of every woman, just as many had affirmed the fundamental liberty of every enslaved person. Denied the right to stop marital rape, control their own finances, or (with the exception of Oberlin College) pursue higher education, the first feminists still found strength to give voice to the most vulnerable, including born children in need of empowered parents and unborn children peacefully floating in their mothers’ wombs.

When I first started at Feminists for Life, an opponent of FFL’s emerging voice alleged we offered only one pro-life quote from one lone suffragist that we kept repeating over and over again. Famous historians peddled the claim that there was no documentation of Susan B. Anthony’s opposition to abortion.

But thanks to the late Mary Krane Derr, who was commissioned by the FFL Board of Directors to research The Revolution (published by Susan B. Anthony and co-edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton) and Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly (published by Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin), we established an undeniable consensus among early feminists against the horror of abortion. Other researchers like Suzanne Schnittman, Lisa Bellecci-st. romain, and Ruth Moynihan dove deeper, bringing our rich pro-life feminist history forward into the light.

The early feminists had a spectrum of opinions and pursuits within their movement, just as we have within pro-life feminism today. Like second wave feminists of the 1970s, many of whom strayed from feminism’s original non-violent tenets, some of the first wave feminists’ words and actions can be disappointing—even offensive. Suzanne Schnittman warned me long ago that these were not perfect people any more than we are.

Without known exception, every first-wave feminist who spoke out on abortion strongly opposed it. Some addressed the unmet needs of women driven to abortion; others focused on the children threatened by it; and all expressed intense and unwavering opposition to it.

FAQ

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Who was the first American Feminist?

Abigail Adams! In her letter to her husband (2nd president John Adams) in 1776 she writes "And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could." She wanted to spare women from domesticity decades before many famous feminists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Good luck!

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Was the first wave feminist movement a success? | Yahoo Answers

The 19th cent feminists worked for passage of married women's property laws as well as seeking the universal vote. They worked towards changes in divorce laws and child custody.
1839- The Infant Custody Act was the first law to shift the bedrock of men gaining sole custody of children in divorce. Women of impeccable virtue could gain custody of children under seven.
These laws reflected changes in social attitudes towards who should gain custody of children.

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