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Lucretia Mott (American National Biography)

Scholarship

Nancy C. Unger, "Mott, Lucretia Coffin,” American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00494.html.

In 1837 Mott attended the First Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, an event she helped to organize, held in New York City. She devoted her speeches increasingly to the intertwined causes of feminism and antislavery, attracting large audiences. Like her colleagues Angelina Grimké and Sarah Grimké, Mott received harsh criticism, even from fellow antislavery advocates, for speaking to "promiscuous" audiences, that is, groups comprised of both women and men. Among proslavery forces Mott was denounced as a racial "amalgamator" and more than once was threatened by unruly, violent mobs. A pacifist, she believed that only moral weapons should be used to win the battle against slavery.

The "woman question" ultimately divided the American Anti-Slavery Society into two factions in 1840. That spring James and Lucretia Mott were named delegates from Pennsylvania to the World's Anti-Slavery Convention, which was held in London in June. The first order of business of the all-male convention was to discuss the admission of women delegates. Ninety percent of the delegates were opposed, and Lucretia Mott thus officially attended only as a visitor, but her presence nevertheless established her as a leading figure in both the women's rights and antislavery movements. Moreover, at the convention's end, she and abolitionist turned leading women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton resolved to call a meeting in the United States to advocate the rights of women.

How to Cite This Page: "Lucretia Mott (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/17500.