The Creation of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions for Women’s Rights Based on the Declaration of Independence

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Women’s rights became a major issue during the early 1800’s as women began to realize that they were being denied many of the rights that were supposed to be granted to all citizens. To depict this injustice, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. She made a powerful choice in formatting the document to emulate the Declaration of Independence. Thus, the document was highly distinguished and had a great influence on society concerning the issue of women’s rights.

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Stanton simply used the Declaration of Independence as a template to firmly convey her argument. The audience and content both have a clear difference. Stanton declares ” We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal” (Jacobus 272.) Every word is exactly identical to those that begin the Declaration of Independence, except that Stanton adds “and women.” The entire focus of the document that once concerned the freedom of the nation from tyranny is altered to the freedom of one demographical group from another.

The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions maintains the format of the Declaration of Independence. It contains a preamble, declaration of natural rights, list of grievances caused by the oppressor, and a resolution of independence. While the Declaration of Independence identifies the colonists’ grievances resulting from the rule of the King and dissolves their ties with Great Britain, the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions expresses the wrongdoings of “the white male” and demands equality between men and women. These distinctions established an entirely different audience.

The intended audience of the Declaration of Independence was the British government and American colonists. Meanwhile, the audience of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was both American men and women. Stanton was very proficient in communicating her ideas by use of the structure Declaration of Independence.

In imitating Jefferson’s writing, Stanton was regarded for her “powerful wit” (Jacobus 271) while her message is successfully conveyed. The Declaration of Independence was an essential gateway to the freedom of Americans; placing the document at a high significance in our society. The parallelism of Stanton’s writing illustrates the necessity of its acknowledgment.

Just as the Declaration of Independence was important to Americans, it is clear that women expected the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions to receive immense consideration. One of the most compelling aspects of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions exists in the list of grievances. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson referred to the King as “He” and when listing the wrongdoings, he began each paragraph as “He has” followed by an offense. Stanton preserves the use of “He has,” however, “He” instead represents the while male. The implicit comparison between American men and the King shows the extremity of the conditions confronted by women.

Due to the close resemblance of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions to the Declaration of Independence, it may seem as if Stanton proposed a weak argument. During her time, women were seen as inferior to men, especially in terms of education. Stanton’s imitation of a document written by a man can cause speculation that she did not have sufficient knowledge to form her own argument. However, Stanton created a completely new declaration encompassing the issues of women, carefully sculpting each statement. Doing so, the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was a very sophisticated document that genuinely depicted the capabilities of women. The high level of literary ability provided that women were indeed competent of achieving many of the things denied to them, as they were essentially “civilly dead” (Jacobus 273.) The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions proved that women deserved equal participation in government.

The parallelism between the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions and the Declaration of Independence had a great contribution to the women’s rights effort. Stanton created a remarkable document and a powerful argument. It quickly became clear that women deserved much more than what they were allowed in government, and that the manner in which they were treated was simply un-American. Resultantly, Stanton was able to see huge strides in the movement for women’s rights.

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The Creation of the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions for Women’s Rights Based on the Declaration of Independence. (2022, Sep 30). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from
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