Seneca Falls was established as the first convention in the 1890s by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, neither of whom had attended, but the true first event used to anchor the movement was on October 23, 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts.¹ The Seneca Falls dates of July 18-19th 1848, was adopted to acknowledge Nantucket born Lucretia Mott work, because she was the defacto leader of the new women’s right movement, being such a prominent figure in the earlier abolition movement and a also woman.
Te Worcester, Massachusetts convention,, was the actual first national woman suffrage convention, because that was when activists from different states united into a larger whole on the agenda. It gathered men and women from all over the Northeastern United States, including Maine, New York, Ohio and Indiana. The one major state that did not fully participate was Pennsylvania because Philadelphians felt that it took momentum away from the Abolition movement.
..the first national women’s rights convention was in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1850, because that is when local events became coordinated into a larger, national whole….& delegates from women’s right groups around the Northeast and Midwest were fomenting.¹
The Worcester location probably worked because it was at a confluence of many railroads as shown on the map below. As horse and buggy would be both expensive and lengthy for such a trip, railroads were the nations life blood, criss crossing around the fruited plane. Of course the attendees had to make connections and wait at stations, it was the fastest and cheapest method of travel. The Worcester spot also benefitted from the proximity to the fire-brand abolition spot of Boston that was 50 miles and as easy train ride away, (see the yellow circle for Boston and the Aqua for Worcester on the train map below) as well as being the homes of (#599) James Russell Lowell, William Lloyd Garrison, Bronson Alcott (father of #17 Louisa May) , Henry David Thoreau and #348 Stephen Foster (whose wife Jane was an organizer).
Lucretia’s passion though was for fighting slavery. Feeling that “the Slave” had the “first claim” on her time and energy, she urged Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other young reformers to take the platform at the annual, and sometimes semi-annual, wom- en’s right meetings.5 At these conventions, Mott and other activists analyzed the obstacles to women’s equal citizenship. With her long history of confronting reli- gious authorities, Mott contributed an incisive critique of the way church and state cooperated to limit women’s sphere… Yet as firmly as she believed in women’s rights, but the women’s movement did not inspire her with the same sense of urgency, righteousness, or moral intensity as abolition. Committed to a universal conception of liberty, Mott questioned the tactical conservatism and narrow vision of some early women’s rights activists also.²
We do not know at what time the Worcester Convention started, nor exactly where it was held, just the span of days, but chose 8 am as most people in that point in US history were still early risers because of agriculture. This start gives us Scorpio 18 and the Hyperion symbol of “bees at a sunflower.” McClung writes that this symbol is evocative of the promised rewards outweigh the current tribulations. McClung’s mentor and teacher, Marc Jones, actually picks up on the autumnal features of New England itself with the symbol of “a woods rich in autumn colouring,” suggesting nature’s high ministry of service, and the varying manifestations of reality support the fruitage by innumerable resources on hand.
Top left is Lucretia Mott, below her is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The Round picture in the middle is Lucy Stoner. The last picture is of Susan B. Anthony.
The layout is a see-saw or hourglass temperament type showing the split between the priority of slaves in bondage, a strong preponderance in the twelfth to eleventh house versus the creative desire of women for the vote. This see-saw is united by the opposition in Uranus at 28 Aries to the Sun in Libra 29 demonstrating their refusal to stand-down and be ignored. It also shows the high nervous tension this aroused amongst women and men because of its perceived rivalry with abolition. This aspect reared its head again in the 2008 Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with Chelsea Clinton’s anger over a “woman being ignored in favour of a man” because the two had similar politics.
Transpluto, that oddity, is also in the fifth house highlighting the suffragette’s untiring energy for work and creative powers to introduce new ideas and raise consciousness. The hypothetical planet (but not a TransNeptunian) is conjunct Saturn showing strong persistence and great managerial skill in bringing delegates from all over the northeast to converge in Worcester, It is also conjunct Uranus (materialization of new vibrant ideas) that happens to be partile Pluto (a burgeoning desire for acknowledgement), while Neptune, newly discovered, hovers right on the angular fourth house cusp, showing the growing importance of women’s duties and responsibilities in the home and family.
Again we see Chiron our “culture creatior breaker-maker” right on the first house cusp at 28 Cancer “a modern Pocahontas,” highlilghting the idea that various phases of human endeavour provide new potentials of a genuine pioneer spirit.
Women’s rights activists inaugurated their national movement at a convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, on October 23 and 24, 1850. Previous conventions had been explicitly regional, garnering local participants and attention. In Worcester, 500–1,000 reformers attended from across the northeast, attracting the notice of newspapers in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Lucretia signed the call for the convention, which invited men and women to “harmonize in opinion and cooperate in effort, for the reason that they must unite in the ultimate achievement of the desired reformation.” This statement recalled her resolution on participation of male allies at the Seneca Falls Convention years before.
The goal that activists “harmonize in opinion” proved more elusive. Female and male delegates at the Worcester convention discussed the strategy to be adopted by the young movement, revealing early divisions over respectability and race that hardened after the Civil War.²
Women finally got the vote seventy years later on August 18 1920 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law. Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stoner were all by then long dead.
- The myth of Seneca Falls, Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement 1848-1898 by Lisa Tetrault, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina c. 2014
- Published via a grant from the Greensboro Women’s Fund of the Universtiy of the North Carolina Press.
- Lucretia Mott’s Heresey, Abolition and Women’s Rights in the Nineteenth Century America by Carol Fulkner, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 c. 2011