The 1848 Declaration of Sentiments as an
Expression of the Tradition of Liberty Rhetoric
When in 1848, a group of women and men gathered in upstate New York to form a convention in which to address and document women's frustration that their rights were not respected in American society, they drew from liberty rhetoric to make their argument. Their frustrations had emerged within the American abolitionist movement, where women, though they played central roles at the grassroots level, repeatedly faced restrictions on their involvement beyond that. Choosing as the model for their Declaration of Sentiments that most famous American statement of liberty rhetoric, the Declaration of Independence, participants at the Seneca Falls Convention arged for women's equal rights to enjoy the liberty that men had claimed in the American Revolution.