Posted by: Ron DuBour | February 8, 2011

American Heroes~Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880)~by rldubour

Knowing your American Heroes

Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880)

The second child of seven

By Thomas Coffin and Anna Folger.

From Nantucket, Massachusetts

Persuasive as she grew older.


At thirteen sent to boarding school

Run by the Society of Friends.

A teacher and an activist

For women’s right’s she now defends.


April tenth eighteen-eleven

She was married to James Mott.

They both worked for abolition

And anti-slavery they fought.


At age five their first child died

She became a Quaker minister.

Considered slavery as evil

Use of their products was sinister.


She moved to Philadelphia

In eighteen-twenty-one.

Speaking publicly for abolition

And women’s right’s had begun.


Influenced by Unitarians

Like Parker, Channing and William Penn.

Her successful abolitionist lobbying

For the right’s of all women.


When Lincoln outlawed slavery

In eighteen-hundred and sixty-five.

She pushed for their right to vote

In keeping equal rights alive.


In eighteen-hundred sixty-six

Joined with Stanton, Anthony, and Stone.

To establish an association

American Equal Rights is known.


She was an American Quaker

Minister, social reformer and abolitionist

A proponent of women’s right’s

Credited as the first American feminist.


Posthumously inducted into the

U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame.

November eleventh, eighteen-eighty

Forever will live her name.


AUTHOR NOTES: Lucretia Coffin was born into a Quaker family in Nantucket, Massachusetts. She was the second child of seven by Thomas Coffin and Anna Folger. At the age of thirteen she was sent to a boarding school run by the Society of Friends, where she eventually became a teacher. Her interest in women’s rights began when she discovered that male teachers at the school were paid twice as much as the female staff. On 10 April 1811, Lucretia married James Mott, another teacher at the school. Their first child died at age 5. Ten years later, she became a Quaker minister. Lucretia and her husband were both opposed to the slave trade and were active in the American Anti-Slavery Society. She moved to Philadelphia in 1821. She quickly became known for her persuasive speeches against slavery. Prior to her own involvement, many Quaker men had been involved in the abolitionist movement in the very early 1800s. Lucretia Mott was one of the first Quaker women to do advocacy work for abolition. Like many Quakers, Mott considered slavery an evil to be opposed. They refused to use cotton cloth, cane sugar, and other slavery-produced goods. With her skills in the ministry, she began to speak publicly for abolition, often traveling from her home in Philadelphia. Her sermons combined antislavery themes with broad calls for moral reform. Her husband supported her activism and they often sheltered runaway slaves in their home. Mott’s theology was influenced by Unitarians including Theodore Parker and William Ellery Channing as well as early Quakers including William Penn. Mott was successful in her abolitionist lobbying and punctuated her career with teaching the ropes of representative government’s political advocacy to women coming up as women’s and abolitionist advocates. In the 1830s she helped establish two anti-slavery groups. She taught that “the kingdom of God is within man” (1849) and was part of the group of religious liberals who formed the Free Religious Association in 1867, with Rabbi Wise, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Her theological position was particularly influential among Quakers, as in the future many harked back to her positions, sometimes without even knowing it. Elected as the first president of the American Equal Rights Association after the end of the Civil War, Mott strove a few years later to reconcile the two factions that split over the priorities between woman suffrage and black male suffrage. Ever the peacemaker, Mott tried to heal the breach between Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone over the immediate goal of the women’s movement: suffrage for freedmen and all women. In 1850 Mott wrote Discourse on Woman, a book about restrictions on women in the United States. She became more widely known after this. When slavery was outlawed in 1865, she began to advocate giving black Americans the right to vote. She remained a central figure in the women’s movement as a peacemaker, a critical function for that period of the movement, until her death at age 87 in 1880.In 1864 Mott and several other Hicksite Quakers incorporated Swarthmore College, which today remains one of the premier liberal-arts colleges in the United States. In 1866 Mott joined with Stanton, Anthony, and Stone to establish the American Equal Rights Association. She was a leading voice in the Universal Peace Union, also founded in 1866. The following year, the organization became active in Kansas where Negro suffrage and woman suffrage were to be decided by popular vote. She was posthumously inducted into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame. Lucretia Coffin Mott (January 3, 1793 – November 11, 1880) was an American Quaker minister, abolitionist, social reformer and proponent of women’s rights. She is credited as the first American “feminist” in the early 1800s but was, more accurately, the initiator of women’s political advocacy.


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