The Myth of Seneca Falls, or The Problem of a Beginning for U.S. Women’s Rights

Lecture Description

The story of the 1848 women’s rights meeting in Seneca Falls, New York, as the origin of U.S. feminism is a cherished American myth. But where did this origins myth come from? Who invented it? And why? Tetrault offers the first history of this long-standing mythology, which was invented some thirty to forty years after the fact, with deliberateness and significant consequences for the movement, helping to change its shape and direction. More broadly, this lecture underscores how activists use invented histories as weapons in social justice movements, producing consequences both positive and negative.


Women's Rights, Activism, and Suffrage

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