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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 19 July

19 Seneca Falls ConventionIn 1848 on this day, the Seneca Falls Convention began. This was the first women’s rights convention, conceived of and organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. The two women had gone to London to attend the World Anti-Slavery Convention but were refused seats because they were female. The convention was called “to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women.” Stanton drew up a Declaration of Sentiments to define the meeting, using the Declaration of Independence as her guide. She listed 18 “injuries and usurpations,” the same leveled against King George III, “on the part of man toward woman.” Three hundred people attended, including 40 men. The Seneca Falls Declaration was signed by one hundred men and women, although some later removed their names due to criticism. Although the convention was a small, local event, the press publicized the results of it far and wide, causing much debate, but the women were happy to have the discussion started in the public’s minds. 1

One notable birthday on this day in 1806, that of 19 Alexander Dallas BacheAlexander Dallas Bache. Bache, scientist and great grandson of Benjamin Franklin. Bache was born in Philadelphia and attended the U.S. Military Academy. He then taught mechanical engineering at West Point and served as engineer overseeing construction of Ford Adams in Newport, Rhode Island. Bache went on to serve as editor of Journal of the Franklin Institute and wrote scientific papers and conducted experiments in physics and meteorology, as well as continued his great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin’s work on the Gulf Stream. He founded the Girard College for Orphans and was the first principal of the Philadelphia Central High School. Bache then served as the second superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, where he turned the Coast Survey into a renowned scientific organization. He was one of the incorporators of the Smithsonian Institute, a member of many scientific and philosophical societies, and helped establish the National Academy of Sciences. Bache’s efforts for the Coast Survey during the Civil War were instrumental in building and maintaining Union defenses along the coast. 2


1 “The Seneca Falls Convention,” National Portrait Gallery, www.npg.si.edu/col/seneca/senfalls1.htm
2 “Alexander Dallas Bache: Leader of American Science and Second Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey,” NOAA Celebrates 200 Years of Science, Service and Stewardship, celebrating200years.noaa.gov/historymakers/bache/#intro; “Alexander Dallas Bache,” Penn Biographies, Penn University Archives and Records Center, www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1800s/bache_alexdr_dallas.html

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