One-hundred-seventy years have passed since July 1848, when 300 women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to fight for the social, civil and religious rights of women—the first Women’s Rights Convention in the United States. It took more than 70 years of activism, but finally in June 1919 the 19th amendment was passed, granting citizens the right to vote regardless of sex. The amendment was ratified in August 1920. Driving the Disenfranchised examines the role automobiles played in furthering the cause of women’s suffrage in the United States, particularly during the Progressive Era (1890–1920).
Those who attended the Seneca Falls Convention vowed to work toward a society where women’s voices would resonate loudly and their rights would be equal to men’s. The Declaration of Sentiments—modeled after the Declaration of Independence—outlined the convention’s principles, among which were access to education, property rights, and the right to vote; the resolution marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in America.