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Home > Women's History Month > Part 1: Women's Rights Pioneers > Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Coffin Mott was born on January 3, 1793 in Massachusetts. One of her Great Great Great Great Grandparents was one of Benjamin Franklin's Grandparent - or another way of saying it - they were first cousins four times removed. She was a Quaker and went to a Quaker boarding school when she was 13. She eventually taught at the school and become interested in women's rights when she found out that the male teachers there were paid twice as much.

She was married in 1811 to James Mott, also a Quaker and they were both involved in the American Anti-Slavery Society. Lucretia eventually became a Quaker minister.

In 1821 she moved to Philadelphia and started making speeches for the abolitionist movement. She refused to use cane sugar, cotton or anything made from slave labor. She and her husband also sheltered slaves that had run away.

In 1840 she attended the first World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Once there, she found out that women at the convention were being forced to sit in a separate screened in section and were not allowed to speak or vote. It was at this convention that she first met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the two of them decided to hold a convention for women's rights.

Some years later, in 1848, they met again and organized the Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. Altogether five women worked in setting up the convention, the others were: Jane Hunt, Martha Wright (Lucretia's sister) and Mary Ann McClintock. All but Elizabeth Cady Stanton were Quakers. The Quakers (also known as the Society of Friends) believed that men and women were created as equals. The relatively large number of Quaker women involved in the women's right movement was likely due to this belief.

In 1850 Lucretia wrote a book called 'Discourse on Woman' about how women's lives were restricted. In 1866 she, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone founded the American Equal Rights Association. After the Civil War she was the first president of the American Equal Rights Convention.

Lucretia continued throughout the rest of her life to work for peace and equal rights. She died on November 11, 1880.

Quotes from Lucretia Mott

'I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.'

'The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.'

'Let [woman] receive encouragement for the proper cultivation of all her powers, so that she may enter profitably into the active business of life.'

'We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth.'

'In a true marriage relation the independence of the husband and the wife is equal, their dependence mutual, and their obligations reciprocol.'

Other sources of information about

Lucretia Coffin Mott Papers Project

Lucretia Mott: Woman of Courage


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