The concept of universal suffrage known as general suffrage or common suffrage, consists of the right to vote of all adult citizens, regardless of property ownership, race, or ethnicity, subject only to minor exceptions. In its original 19th-century usage by political reformers, universal suffrage was understood to mean only universal manhood suffrage. There are variations among countries in terms of specifics of the right to vote. In the United States, the term "suffrage" is associated with women's suffrage. In most countries, universal suffrage followed about a generation after universal male suffrage. Notable exceptions in Europe were France, where women could not vote until 1944, Switzerland. In the first modern democracies, governments restricted the vote to those with property and wealth, which always meant a minority of the male population. In some jurisdictions, other restrictions existed, such as requiring voters to practice a given religion. In all modern democracies, the number of people who could vote has increased progressively with time.
In the 19th century in Europe, Great Britain and North America, there were movements advocating "universal suffrage". France, under the 1793 Jacobin constitution, was the first major country to enact suffrage for all adult males, though it was never formally enacted in practice; the Second French Republic did institute adult male suffrage after the revolution of 1848. Following the French revolutions, the first movements in the Western world toward universal suffrage occurred in the early 19th century, focused on removing property requirements for voting. In 1867, Germany enacted suffrage for all adult males. In the United States following the American Civil War, slaves were freed and granted rights of citizens, including suffrage for adult males. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the focus of the universal suffrage movement came to include the extension of the right to vote to women, as happened from the post-Civil War era in several Western states and the 1890s in a number of British colonies.
In 1906, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, which became the republic of Finland, was the first country in the world to implement full universal suffrage, as women could stand as candidates, unlike in New Zealand, ethnic exclusion was not implemented, unlike in Australia. It elected the world's first female members of parliament the following year; the First French Republic was the second nation that adopted universal male suffrage, doing so in 1792. Greece recognized full male suffrage in 1830. Spain recognized it in the Constitution of 1869 and France and Switzerland have continuously done so since the 1848 Revolution. Upon independence in the 19th century, several Latin American countries and Liberia in Africa extended suffrage to all adult males, but subsequently restricted it based on property requirements; the German Empire implemented full male suffrage in 1871. In the United States, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1870 during the Reconstruction era, provided that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
This amendment was intended to guarantee the right to vote to African Americans, many of whom had been enslaved in the South prior to the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Despite the amendment, blacks were disfranchised in the former Confederate states after 1877. Southern blacks did not receive the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1893, the self-governing colony New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant active universal suffrage by giving women the right to vote, it did not grant universal full suffrage until 1919. In 1902, Australia become the first country to grant full suffrage for women, i.e. the first country in the world to give women both the right to vote and to run for office. However, universal suffrage was not implemented, as aboriginals did not get the right to vote until 1962. Several European nations that had enacted universal suffrage had their normal legal process, or their status as an independent nation, interrupted during and after the First World War.
Many societies in the past have denied or abridged political representation on the basis of race or ethnicity, related to discriminatory ideas about citizenship
History of Woman Suffrage
History of Woman Suffrage is a book, produced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Ida Husted Harper. Published in six volumes from 1881 to 1922, it is a history of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, its more than 5700 pages are the major source for primary documentation about the women's suffrage movement from its beginnings through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which enfranchised women in the U. S. in 1920. Written from the viewpoint of the wing of the movement led by Stanton and Anthony, its coverage of rival groups and individuals is limited. Realizing that the project was unlikely to make a profit, Anthony used money from a bequest in 1885 to buy the rights from the other authors and the plates from the publisher of the two volumes, issued; as sole owner, she published the books herself and donated many copies to libraries and people of influence. In her will, Anthony bequeathed the plates for all the volumes together with the existing inventory to the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leaders of National Woman Suffrage Association, initiated the project of writing a history of the women's suffrage movement in 1876; the project dominated their lives for much of the next decade, although Anthony in particular maintained a busy schedule of lecturing and other women's suffrage activities. Envisioned as a modest publication that would take only four months to write, it evolved into a work of more than 5700 pages written over a period of 41 years, it was completed in 1922, long after the deaths of Stanton and Anthony in 1902 and 1906 respectively. In the introduction the authors wrote: "We hope the contribution we have made may enable some other hand in the future to write a more complete history of'the most momentous reform that has yet been launched on the world—the first organized protest against the injustice which has brooded over the character and destiny of one-half the human race.'" The first volume is dedicated to the memory of pioneering women in the movement, with Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, prominently listed first.
The first three volumes, which cover the history of the movement from its beginnings to 1885, were written and edited by Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage. Volume 1 appeared in 1881, Volume 2 in 1882 and Volume 3 in 1886; some early chapters first appeared in The National Citizen and Ballot Box. Anthony had for years saved letters, newspapers clippings, similar materials of historical value to the women's suffrage movement. In 1876 she shipped several trunks and boxes of these materials to the Stanton house in New Jersey and moved into that household herself to begin working on the project with Stanton. Anthony hated this type of work. In her letters, she said the project "makes me feel growly all the time... No warhorse panted for the rush of battle more than I for outside work. I love to make history but hate to write it." The work led to disagreements. Stanton's daughter Margaret reported that "Sometimes these disputes run so high that down go the pens, one sails out of one door and one out of the other, walking in opposite directions around the estate, just as I have made up my mind that this beautiful friendship of forty years has at last terminated, I see them walking down the hill, arm in arm."When Stanton was ill for several months in 1881, her daughter Harriet completed her editorial work for volume 2.
Dismayed to learn that Anthony and Stanton had no plan for covering the history of the American Woman Suffrage Association, a rival to their NWSA, Harriet Stanton wrote that 107-page chapter herself with information gathered from the Woman's Journal, a periodical published by the AWSA. According to Ellen Carol DuBois, a historian of the women's movement, "The initial volumes are broadly conceived, a combination of Stanton's broad philosophical range, Anthony's organizational energies and Gage's historical sensibilities." Anthony was the business manager. Stanton wrote much of the text. Gage wrote several historical essays, including a long one that critically assesses Christianity's attitude toward women throughout history. Gage provided a significant number of historical documents to the project and was adept at tracking down additional documentation in libraries. In addition to chronicling the movement's activities, the initial volumes include reminiscences of movement leaders and analyses of the historical causes of the condition of women.
They contain a variety of primary materials, including letters, newspaper clippings, court transcripts and decisions, conference reports. Volume three includes essays by local women's rights activists who provided details about the history of the movement at the state level. At Anthony's insistence, the volumes were indexed by a professional indexer and include many expensive steel engravings of women's rights leaders. A bequest of $24,000 from Eliza Jackson Eddy to Anthony in 1885 provided financial assistance for the completion of these volumes. Recognizing that there was little chance of the project showing a profit, Anthony paid Stanton and Gage for their shares of the rights to the books, she issued Volume 3 in 1886. She bought the plates of Volumes 1 and 2, published, from Fowler and Wells, the publisher, reprinted them in 1887, again listing herself as publisher. Anthony gave away over 1000 copies at her own expense, mailing them to political leaders and libraries in the U. S. and Europe.
Frances Wright widely known as Fanny Wright, was a Scottish-born lecturer, freethinker, feminist and social reformer, who became a US citizen in 1825. The same year, she founded the Nashoba Commune in Tennessee, as a utopian community to prepare slaves for emancipation, but it lasted only five years, her Views of Society and Manners in America brought her to public attention as a critic of the new nation. She was one of three children born in Dundee, Scotland, to Camilla Campbell and James Wright, a wealthy linen manufacturer and political radical, her father designed Dundee trade tokens, knew Adam Smith and corresponded with French republicans, including Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Both parents died young, but Fanny, orphaned at the age of three, was left a substantial inheritance, her maternal aunt took Fanny to her home in England. Her guardian taught. At 16, she returned to Scotland, where she lived with her great-uncle and spent her summers in study and writing and her summers visiting the Scottish Highlands.
By 18, she had written her first book. Wright traveled to the US in 1818. At 23, with her younger sister, she toured the country for two years before she returned to Scotland, she believed in both universal equality in feminism. She attacked organized religion, greed and capitalism. Along with Robert Owen, Wright demanded, she was sexual freedom for women. She wanted free public education for all children over two years old, in state-supported boarding schools, she expressed, through her projects in America, what the utopian socialist Charles Fourier had said in France "that the progress of civilization depended on the progress of women." Wright was the co-founder of the Free Inquirer newspaper. She wrote Views of Society and Manners in A Few Days in Athens, her publication of Views of Society and Manners in America was a major turning point, as it brought her new acquaintances, led to her return to the US, where she became established as a social reformer. It is a significant example of the 18th-century humanitarian outlook confronting the new democratic world.
It was translated into several languages and read in Great Britain, the United States and Europe. She was the editor of The Sentinel. In 1824–1825, Wright again visited the United States, accompanying the Marquis de Lafayette during much of his famous tour of the United States; as Lafayette headed South in February, Wright headed west towards Robert Owen and the utopian community he had established at New Harmony, Indiana. They traveled north along the Mississippi River. In the fall of 1825, Wright returned to Memphis and founded the Nashoba Commune, near Memphis, Tennessee. Around the same time, she published a tract, A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States Without Danger of Loss to the Citizens of the South, hoped it would persuade Congress to set aside land for the purpose of promoting emancipation. To demonstrate how slaves could be emancipated without their owners losing money, Wright set out to construct a model farm community where slaves could work to earn their own freedom, while being provided with education.
Nashoba was based on Owen's New Harmony controversial settlement, where Wright spent a significant amount of time. Nashoba was plagued with difficulties from the start. Wright had to leave the property because of illness, while she was away the interim managers of Nashoba began instituting a policy of harsher punishments toward the black workers, a scandal regarding "free love" and an interracial relationship between a white overseer and an African American slave broke out. By Wright's return in 1828, the community had collapsed financially. In 1830, Wright gave up, chartering a ship to take the Commune's thirty slaves to the black republic of Haiti, which had achieved independence in 1804. There, they could live their lives as free women. After the closing of Nashoba, Wright wrote an explanation and defense of the commune and the principles of "human liberty and equality." The modern city of Germantown, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis, is on the land of Nashoba. Wright's opposition to slavery contrasted with the views of many other Democrats of the era those of the South.
At the same time, her activism on behalf of workingmen distanced her from the leading abolitionists of the day. In 1833 to 1836, her lectures upon slavery and other social institutions attracted large and enthusiastic audiences/and led to the establishment of what were called "Fanny Wright" societies, her visits were subsequently extended to the principal cities of the United States, but the enunciation of views similar to those contained in her Few Days in Athens met with decided opposition. In 1831, in Paris, Wright married a French physician, Guillaume D'Arusmont, with whom she had a daughter, Frances Sylva D'Arusmont in 1832. A second child died in infancy. Sylva married William Eugene Guthry, whose name was Eugène Picault; as an activist in the American Popular Health Movement between 1830 and 1840, Wright advocated for women being involved in health and medicine. In 1836, she published Course of Popular Lectures. After the mid-term political campaign of 1838, Wright suffered from a variety o
Suffrage, political franchise, or franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, the right to stand for election; the combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage. Suffrage is conceived in terms of elections for representatives. However, suffrage applies to referenda and initiatives. Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote; the utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided unilaterally without extensive, full disclosure and public review. In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of representatives. Voting on issues by referendum may be available. For example, in Switzerland this is permitted at all levels of government. In the United States, some states such as California and Washington have exercised their shared sovereignty to offer citizens the opportunity to write and vote on referendums and initiatives.
Referendums in the United Kingdom are rare. Suffrage is granted to qualifying citizens. What constitutes a qualifying citizen depends on the government's decision. Resident non-citizens can vote in some countries, which may be restricted to citizens of linked countries or to certain offices or questions; the word suffrage comes from Latin suffragium, meaning "vote", "political support", the right to vote. The etymology of the Latin word is uncertain, with some sources citing Latin suffragari "lend support, vote for someone", from sub "under" + fragor "crash, shouts", related to frangere "to break". Other sources say; some etymologists think the word may be related to suffrago and may have meant an ankle bone or knuckle bone. Universal suffrage consists of the right to vote without restriction due to sex, social status, education level, or wealth, it does not extend the right to vote to all residents of a region. The short-lived Corsican Republic was the first country to grant limited universal suffrage to all citizens over the age of 25.
In 1819 60-80,000 men and women from 30 miles around Manchester assembled in the city's St. Peter's Square to protest their lack of any representation in the Houses of Parliament. Historian Robert Poole has called the Peterloo Massacre one of the defining moments of its age.. The film Peterloo featured; this was followed by other experiments in the Paris Commune of 1871 and the island republic of Franceville. The 1840 constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai'i granted universal suffrage to all male and female adults. In 1893, when the Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown in a coup, New Zealand became the only independent country to practice universal suffrage, the Freedom in the World index lists New Zealand as the only free country in the world in 1893. Women's suffrage is, by definition, the right of women to vote; this was the goal of the suffragists, who believed in using legal means and the suffragettes, who used extremist measures. Short-lived suffrage equity was drafted into provisions of the State of New Jersey's first, 1776 Constitution, which extended the Right to Vote to unwed female landholders & black land owners.
"IV. That all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same, have resided within the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council and Assembly. New Jersey 1776 However, the document did not specify an Amendment procedure, the provision was subsequently replaced in 1844 by the adoption of the succeeding constitution, which reverted to "all white male" suffrage restrictions. Although the Kingdom of Hawai'i granted female suffrage in 1840, the right was rescinded in 1852. Limited voting rights were gained by some women in Sweden and some western U. S. states in the 1860s. In 1893, the British colony of New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to extend the right to vote to all adult women. In 1894 the women of South Australia achieved the right to both stand for Parliament; the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire was the first nation to allow all women to both vote and run for parliament.
Those against the women's suffrage movement made public organizations to put down the political movement, with the main argument being that a woman's place was in the home, not polls. Political cartoons and public outrage over women's rights increased as the opposition to suffrage worked day and night to organize legitimate groups campaigning against women's voting rights; the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women was one organization that came out of the 1880's to put down the voting efforts. Many anti-suffrage propaganda poked fun at the idea of women in politics. Political cartoons displayed the most sentiment by portraying the issue of women's suffrage to be swapped with men's lives; some mocked the popular suf
Worcester is a city in, the county seat of, Worcester County, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is located 40 miles west of Boston, 50 miles east of Springfield and 40 miles north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth", thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may have its provenance in lore that the Valentine's Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Esther Howland who resided in Worcester. Worcester was considered its own distinct region apart from Boston until the 1970s. Since Boston's suburbs have been moving out further westward after the construction of Interstate 495 and Interstate 290; the Worcester region now marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Providence U. S. Census Combined Greater Boston.
The city features many examples of Victorian-era mill architecture. The area was first inhabited by members of the Nipmuc tribe; the native people called the region built a settlement on Pakachoag Hill in Auburn. In 1673 English settlers John Eliot and Daniel Gookin led an expedition to Quinsigamond to establish a new Christian Indian "praying town" and identify a new location for an English settlement. On July 13, 1674, Gookin obtained a deed to eight square miles of land in Quinsigamond from the Nipmuc people and English traders and settlers began to inhabit the region. In 1675, King Philip's War broke out throughout New England with the Nipmuc Indians coming to the aid of Indian leader King Philip; the English settlers abandoned the Quinsigamond area and the empty buildings were burned by the Indian forces. The town was again abandoned during Queen Anne's War in 1702. In 1713, Worcester was permanently resettled for a third time by Jonas Rice. Named after the city of Worcester, the town was incorporated on June 14, 1722.
On April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as the county seat of the newly founded Worcester County government. Between 1755 and 1758, future U. S. president John Adams studied law in Worcester. In the 1770s, Worcester became a center of American revolutionary activity. British General Thomas Gage was given information of patriot ammunition stockpiled in Worcester in 1775. In 1775, Massachusetts Spy publisher Isaiah Thomas moved his radical newspaper out of British occupied Boston to Worcester. Thomas would continuously publish his paper throughout the American Revolutionary War. On July 14, 1776, Thomas performed the first public reading in Massachusetts of the Declaration of Independence from the porch of the Old South Church, where the 19th century Worcester City Hall stands today, he would go on to form the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester in 1812. During the turn of the 19th century Worcester's economy moved into manufacturing. Factories producing textiles and clothing opened along the nearby Blackstone River.
However, the manufacturing industry in Worcester would not begin to thrive until the opening of the Blackstone Canal in 1828 and the opening of the Worcester and Boston Railroad in 1835. The city transformed into a transportation hub and the manufacturing industry flourished. Worcester was chartered as a city on February 29, 1848; the city's industries soon attracted immigrants of Irish, French and Swedish descent in the mid-19th century and many immigrants of Lithuanian, Italian, Greek and Armenian descent. Immigrants moved into new three-decker houses which lined hundreds of Worcester's expanding streets and neighborhoods. In 1831 Ichabod Washburn opened the Moen Company; the company would become the largest wire manufacturing in the country and Washburn became one of the leading industrial and philanthropic figures in the city. Worcester would become a center of machinery, wire products and power looms and boasted large manufacturers, Washburn & Moen, Wyman-Gordon Company, American Steel & Wire, Morgan Construction and the Norton Company.
In 1908 the Royal Worcester Corset Company was the largest employer of women in the United States. Worcester would claim many inventions and firsts. New England Candlepin bowling was invented in Worcester by Justin White in 1879. Esther Howland began the first line of Valentine's Day cards from her Worcester home in 1847. Loring Coes invented the first monkey wrench and Russell Hawes created the first envelope folding machine. On June 12, 1880, Lee Richmond pitched the first perfect game in Major league baseball history for the Worcester Ruby Legs at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds. On June 9, 1953 an F4 tornado touched down in Massachusetts northwest of Worcester; the tornado tore through 48 miles of Worcester County including a large area of the city of Worcester. The tornado killed 94 people; the Worcester Tornado would be the most deadly tornado to hit Massachusetts. Debris from the tornado landed as far away as Massachusetts. After World War II, Worcester began to fall into decline as the city lost its manufacturing base to cheaper alternatives across the country and overseas.
Worcester felt the national trends of movement away from historic urban centers. The city's population would drop over 20% from 1950 to 1980. In the mid-20th century large urban renewal projects were undertaken to try and reverse the city's decline. A huge area of downtown Worcester was demolished for new office towers and the 1,000,000 sq. ft. Wor
A petticoat or underskirt is an article of clothing, a type of undergarment worn under a skirt or a dress. Its precise meaning varies between countries. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in current British English, a petticoat is "a light loose undergarment... hanging from the shoulders or waist". In modern American usage, "petticoat" refers only to a garment hanging from a half slip. In historical contexts, petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bodice or jacket. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. Petticoat is the standard name in English for any underskirt worn as part of non-Western clothing such as the lehenga with the sari. Sometimes a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt or half slip, with petticoat restricted to full garments. A chemise hangs from the shoulders. Petticoat can refer to a full-length slip in the UK, although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned.
In the fourteenth century, both men and women wore undercoats called "petticotes". The word "petticoat" came from pety coote, meaning "a small coat". Petticoats are sometimes spelled "petty coat"; the original petticoat was worn with an open gown. The practice of wearing petticoats as undergarments was well established in England by 1585. In French, petticoats were called jupe; the basquina, worn in Spain, was considered a type of petticoat. In the 18th century in Europe and in America, petticoats were considered a part of the exterior garment and were meant to be seen. An underpetticoat was shorter than a regular petticoat. Underpetticoats were known as a dickey. In the American colonies, working women wore shortgowns over petticoats that matched in color; the hem length of a petticoat in the 18th century depended on what was fashionable in dress at the time. Petticoats has slits or holes for women to reach pockets inside. Petticoats were worn by all classes of women throughout the 18th century; the style known as polonaise revealed much of the petticoat intentionally.
In the early 19th century, dresses became narrower and simpler with much less lingerie, including "invisible petticoats". As the waltz became popular in the 1820s, full-skirted gowns with petticoats were revived in Europe and the United States. In the Victorian era, petticoats were used to give bulk and shape to the skirts worn over the petticoat. By the mid 19th century, petticoats were worn over hoops; as the bustle became popular, petticoats developed flounces towards the back. In the 1870s, petticoats were worn in layers. Colored petticoats came into fashion by the 1890s. In the early 20th century, petticoats were circular, had flounces and buttons in which women could attach additional flounces to the garment. Bloomers were touted as a replacement for petticoats when working and by fashion reformers. After World War I, silk petticoats were in fashion. Petticoats were revived by Christian Dior in his full-skirted "New Look" of 1947 and tiered, stiffened petticoats remained popular during the 1950s and 1960s.
These were sold in a few clothing stores as late as 1970. It is the main undergarment worn with a sari. Sari petticoats match the color of the sari and are made of satin or cotton. Notable differences between the western petticoat and sari petticoat include that the latter is shorter than ankle length and is always worn from the waist down. In India, it is called inner skirt or an inskirt; the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft was famously disparaged by Horace Walpole as a "hyena in petticoats". More flatteringly, Florentia Sale was dubbed "the Grenadier in Petticoats" for travelling with her military husband Sir Robert Henry Sale around the British Empire; the phrase "petticoat government" has referred to women running government or domestic affairs. The phrase is applied in a positive tone welcoming female governance of society and home, but is used to imply a threat to appropriate government by males, as was mentioned in several of Henry Fielding's plays. An Irish pamphlet Petticoat Government, Exemplified in a Late Case in Ireland was published in 1780.
The American writer Washington Irving used the phrase in his Rip Van Winkle Frances Trollope wrote Petticoat Government: A Novel in 1850. Emma Orczy wrote Petticoat Government, another novel, in 1911. G. K. Chesterton mentions petticoat in a positive manner. No ruler would deliberately dress up in the recognized fetters of a slave, but when men wish to be safely impressive, as judges, priests or kings, they do wear skirts, the long, trailing robes of female dignity. The whole world is under petticoat government. United States President Andrew Jackson's administration was beset by a scandal called "The Petticoat Affair", dramatized in the 1936 film The Gorgeous Hussy. A 1943 comedy film called Petticoat Larceny depicted a young girl being kidnapped by grifters. In 1955, Iron Curtain politics were satirized in a Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn film, The Iron Petticoat. In the same year Western author Chester William Harrison wrote a short story "Petticoat Brigade", turned into the film The Guns of Fort Pett
Seneca Falls (CDP), New York
Seneca Falls is a hamlet in Seneca County, New York, in the United States. The population was 6,681 at the 2010 census; the hamlet is in the Town of Seneca Falls, east of Geneva. It was an incorporated village from 1831 to 2011. Finger Lakes Regional Airport is south of the hamlet. Seneca Falls was the site of the Seneca Falls Convention, a foundational event in the Women's Rights Movement; the town is believed by some to have been the inspiration for the fictional town of "Bedford Falls, N. Y." portrayed in filmmaker Frank Capra's classic 1940s film "It's a Wonderful Life". The region was in the domain of the Cayuga tribe and visited by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th Century; the Cayuga were allies of the British and attacked American settlements from the outset of the revolution. The Sullivan Expedition of 1779 was sent to kill the warriors. After the war, the village and surrounding land became part of the Central New York Military Tract, land reserved for veterans of the war; the north end of Cayuga Lake was set aside as a reservation for returning Cayuga tribal members.
The first pioneers arrived around 1790. The first settlers chose the area for its easy access to water and close proximity to the Iroquois trail; when the village was first incorporated in 1831, it was named after the series of small falls and rapids on the Seneca River which drains Cayuga and Seneca of the Finger Lakes. The river was canalized for navigation in 1818, connected the lakes with the Erie Canal in 1828; the village was re-incorporated in 1837, 1860, 1896 with new charters. The New York State Barge Canal project in 1915 eliminated what remained of the rapids, canalizing the entire river and building a pair of locks to replace the three smaller locks which had made it possible for boat and barge traffic to pass through the village; the falls were the cause of the village's existence, providing water power for mills, distilleries and other factories. By the mid 19th Century, Seneca Falls was the third largest flour milling center in the world, after Rochester and Oswego. There is still a small hydroelectric power generating station in the village.
A young man, Birdsall Holly, moved to Seneca Falls from Auburn to work as a mechanic in one of these mills. His son, Birdsall Holly Jr. was entranced by the water power, studying hydraulics and mechanics until he became one of the foremost American inventors. Holly became a partner in the Silsby Company called "The Island Works." While working for this company, he obtained his first patent, for a rotary water pump. He moved to Lockport, New York, where he continued inventing, but his work with pumps was continued by Seabury S. Gould Sr. who cast the first all-metal pump and founded Goulds Pumps, a worldwide pump manufacturer, the world's largest company dedicated to producing only pumps when it was taken over by ITT Technology in 1997. While working for the Silsby Company, Holly developed the rotary steam engine; this technology was married to the pump technology and was utilized in making the first successful steam fire engine. The Silsby Company moved to Elmira, New York and became American LaFrance, famous for its fire engines.
Seneca Falls played a prominent role in the Women's Rights Movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the organizers of the 1848 Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention and recognized as "the philosopher and chief publicist of the radical wing of the 19th century women's rights movement", lived in Seneca Falls from 1847 to 1863. Amelia Bloomer, popularized a dress reform in her newspaper, The Lily, which became known as bloomers, a design believed to be influenced by native women of the area. Abolitionist causes against slavery were popular in Seneca Falls. In August 1843, Abby Kelley, an outspoken abolitionist, came to Seneca Falls and addressed a crowd on the south side of the Seneca River, she confronted the nation and its institutions, including a local Presbyterian Church and its minister, over slavery. Within a year, a member of that church was found guilty of "disorderly and unchristian conduct" after she confronted that minister on the issue of slavery. Early women's rights leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Coffin Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, Mary Ann M'Clintock and Jane Hunt hastily organized the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, held in 1848 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.
A "Declaration of Sentiments" was adopted, drafted by Stanton, M'Clintock and two adult M'Clintock daughters, which included support for women's suffrage. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and publisher of a Rochester, New York, abolitionist newspaper, attended the convention, his eloquent support for the women's suffrage resolution was instrumental in its passage. Nearby Waterloo was the planning location for the convention, commemorated by the Women's Rights National Historical Park in the two villages. In July 1923 the National Woman's Party celebrated the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls convention with a pageant and pilgrimage to Susan B. Anthony’s grave in nearby Rochester, though Anthony did not attend in 1848. Alice Paul presented the draft of the Equal Rights Amendment, referred to as "the Lucretia Mott Amendment", for the delegates’ approval at the general conference held at the First Presbyterian Church in Seneca Falls; the National Women's Hall of Fame was established in Seneca Falls in 1969.
It honors American women for their contributions to society. The first woman mayor of Seneca Falls was the village's last mayor. Diana M. Smith, first elected in 2004, was re-elected for a 2nd term in 2008. On March 16, 2010, Seneca Falls village residents voted to dissolve the village effective December 31, 2011; the village be