I had not analyzed a primary source document before this class, at the beginning it was intimidating, but after having completed a handful of them, it is becoming natural and fun to write. I have struggled in getting the structure of essays – I generally write short stories for fun – so it is counter-intuitive to give away the ending in the beginning, analyzing documents make more sense.
I chose this document in particular, because I feel confident in my understanding of what is expected of me. The first document I analyzed I was lost, and not having acclimated to the work-week, I didn’t get a chance to fully research what it should look like. Once I found the announcement with instructions of the format, and then searching online of what a primary source document interpretation required, I drew out the framework that I can follow when I get started.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, I do a quick read-through of the week, but I take a more in-depth look at this assignment, typically I look at the questions that must be answered to get clues as to what the document is about, I use this information to choose a document that seems like something I would enjoy reading, and so I do. I Write all the questions down so that I can highlight information that can be used in my assignment later. I then go through all the lectures, power-points, I read the chapters and keep two separate notes – one to study for the quizzes, the other for possible quotations for the assignment. I then start on another set of notes when I watch the Tom Green, this time, to answer the questions for the Extra-Credit. So I jot down more quotations for the assignment, more notes for the quizzes, and the answers to the John Green Videos. I also make searches for words or events that I need clarification on.
Once I have an array of quotes that I think can be fitting, I start writing the assignment following the structure, first in my own words, then I swap my words for quotations where it’s more fitting. Once I have worked through the framework, I go back and check that the questions in the assignment were answered, if not, then I look for a space that the answer can fit naturally, moving sentences around if needed.
It is difficult to keep my opinions to myself about the documents, many them have referenced sensitive topics of people who feel trapped – such as indentured servants, slaves, and women living in the 1840’s. I do, however, allow myself to speak more freely as an audience when I reply to the assignments of my classmates. Simply analyzing the document feels cold and stale and sometimes I feel like I’m leaving out the soul of the document. I don’t know if my analyzation inspires others to want to read the document for themselves, however sometimes, they’re not missing much. This process has taught me to be organized, and to have a plan before you write. Going through all the possible sources to cite while simultaneously taking notes, answering the anticipated questions, and doing the extra-credit, I am able to move faster through the week then doing each piece individually.
Going forward, I will take the advice offered to me, and try to incorporate sources in my replies to classmates; I simply have to figure out what the most efficient way to do this will be. I will also try to enforce the same discipline when writing essays in other classes, that I practiced while sticking to the framework in writing these documents.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments
1. Why would the authors of the Declaration parallel the Declaration of Independence?
2. What is their major demand?
3. Why would people reject and actively fight against the ideas of this document?
The Declaration of Sentiments is a primary source document written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848 presented at the Seneca Falls Conference. (3)During the Cult of Domesticity, women were the moral center of the “separate spheres”, this recruited many women to take part in the abolitionist movement, children’s rights, and fighting intemperance, however “In 1840, Garrison’s American followers withdrew from the first World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London because the sponsors refused to seat the women in their delegation” (American Stories, 284). “… [W]hile fighting for change and justice for others, American women discovered that the prisoners, children, and slaves they were fighting for weren’t the only people being oppressed and marginalized in the American democracy” (Green, US#16). During this time, “Legally, the husband was the unchallenged head of the household” (PowerPoint, Ch.12)
This document was presented to other women in upstate New York, in which “they demanded that all women be given the right to vote and (2)that married women be freed from unjust laws giving husbands control of their property, persons, and children” (American Stories, 284). The document resembled the Declaration of Independence (1)to reminding them that all people are created equal, that they all have God-given rights such as liberty, pursuit of happiness, and makes points of how women are taxed without representation.
Misogyny wasn’t something new to Americans; this mindset was brought over from Britain which was a status oriented society. Americans were also racist, and white men thought of themselves as superior to African Americans, and Native Americans, to give women an equal voice would put them on the same status as men since they share the same skin-color. “…note that the United States ended slavery more than 50 years before it granted women the right to vote and that although much of the march towards equality between the sexes has been slow and steady, the Equal Rights Amendment, despite being passed by Congress, was never ratified” (Green, US#16). This document allows us to understand the struggle for women in the 1840s to be allowed to have their voices heard, and though treated better than people of color, were not seen as complete human beings deserving of rights.