“Not Ask as Favor, But Demand as Right”: 1850 Women’s Rights Convention in Salem, Ohio examines the convention which promoted equality for all and women’s suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s six-volume work History of Woman Suffrage, which they first released in 1876, credited this convention with having an influence nationally and internationally. My paper examines this idea. Was this particular convention influential or was it just another convention? Why was Salem, Ohio chosen and who chose it? Salem, at this time, was the leading town in Ohio for the abolitionist movement and had many ties to the Underground Railroad. My paper will examine a link between the two movements. Although the convention was the second of its type in the United States, following the Seneca Falls convention, it differed from its predecessor because it was the first convention run entirely by women; men were not allowed to participate. Apart from Stanton and Anthony in the late 1880s, few historians have written on this topic, therefore most of the information comes directly form primary sources and newspaper clippings from the city of Salem’s newspaper. First, the paper looks at the conditions in the town of Salem around that time, to show why this was the ideal location for a women’s rights convention. In this section a connection between the abolitionist movement which took place in Salem and the women’s rights movement is discussed. The paper then examines what happened during the two day convention.
Lexie Mellinger is a senior double majoring in history and sociology at Kent State Stark. Her current research examines the 1850 Women’s Rights Convention held in Salem, Ohio.