Mr Brian Maregedze

Topics: French Revolution, Age of Enlightenment, Voltaire Pages: 1 (378 words) Published: October 28, 2014

UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE

SURNAMEMAREGEDZE
NAMEBRIAN
REG. NOR116067N
COURSE DESCRIPTIONHISTORY OF WESTERN EUROPE, MID 17th-18th CENTURY PROGRAMME SPECIAL HONOURS IN HISTORY (S.H.S)
LECTURERMR M. NYAKUDYA
TOPIC QUESTION
EXPLAIN THE FLACTUATING STATUS OF WOMEN DURING AND AFTER THE COURSE OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION FROM 1789-1804. DUE DATE15 OCTOBER 2014
The French revolution has variously been hailed as the war of liberation of the human race and decried as a blood-thirsty lesson on the workings of mob mentality amongst historians and activists. The status of women has been argued to have undergo significant fluctuation in the years between 1789 and 1804 since they managed to obtain legal right to marry without parental consent, initiate divorce, name the father of an illegitimate child and secure monetary compensation for the seduction and own property. Primogeniture was abolished along with the nobility and equality of succession laws insured that female heirs would be allowed to inherit. The March on Bastille has received much attention as a sign of the role played by women in the public sphere among other issues to be explained in this essay. The Napoleonic Code of 1804 will also be scrutinized in relation to the fluctuating status of women during and after the course of the French Revolution in the foregoing essay. Prior to the Storming of the Bastille, ideas of age old “truths” of Western Civilization dominated and were further influenced by the French Enlightenment Philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau who strongly believed that women should not engage in politics. Women’s education often consisted of learning to be a good wife and mother, as a result women were not supposed to be involved in the political sphere, as the limit of their influence was the raising of future citizens1. Also to note is that women had no political rights in pre-Revolutionary France, they could not vote or hold any political office, considered “passive” citizens, forced to...
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