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Ahead of Her Time

            Mary Wollstonecraft has been called a forward-looking feminist. She was a woman that was decades ahead of her time. Her writing, A Vindication of Rights of Men (1790) is one of the most important documents in the history of women's rights. Wollstonecraft's views were primarily concerned with the individual woman and about rights. Wollstonecraft was a participant in and observer of a remarkable series of social revolutions. This may have been the major reason why she held such radical views. Wollstonecraft's goal was to indicate the injustices in the treatment of women and attempt to correct them (Wollstonecraft). Centuries have passed since Wollstonecraft's time and great changes have been made in the world of woman's rights.
             1998 marked the 150th Anniversary of a movement by women to achieve full civil rights in this country. Women have not been the passive beneficiaries of changes in laws and human nature; women needed to work fiercely to gain anything they could. A convention to discuss the social, civil, and the religious condition and rights of woman would take place at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls on July 19 and 20, 1848. The Declaration of Independence was used as the framework for writing "the Declaration of Sentiments." It connected women's rights directly to that powerful American symbol of liberty. It stated such specifics: married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law; women were not allowed to vote; women had to submit to laws when they had no voice.
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             in their formation; married women had no property rights; husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity; among other ridiculous statutes (Gurko 101-102).
             The Seneca Falls women had optimistically hoped for "a series of conventions embracing every part of the country." And that's what did happen. After the vote was finally won in 1920, the Women's Rights Movement organization continued on in several directions (Gurko 94).

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