Original Article

Gender Issues

, 25:63

First online:

A Time for Silence: William Lloyd Garrison and the “Woman Question” at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention

  • Lisa Shawn HoganAffiliated withDepartment of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The World Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840 is remembered most as the event that inspired Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to organize the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. Few scholars, however, have analyzed the debate proceedings that ultimately resulted in women’s exclusion from the convention. An analysis of the convention proceedings questions Wendell Phillips’ strategy of speaking on behalf of the women, arguing instead that William Lloyd Garrison’s strategy of silence was the more rhetorically astute response to the exclusion of women. Garrison’s silent protest not only attracted more attention to the women’s rights cause, but also inspired women to speak on their own behalf.


World Anti-Slavery Convention William Lloyd Garrison Wendell Phillips Abolitionism Elizabeth Cady Stanton Standpoint theory