Alec Nielsen4/25/14History 113Women in the French Revolution Like most places in the world, until recently, women were considered an extension of their husband or father. They were given none or little rights both socially and politically. During the French revolution spanning from1789-1794, most social groups went though great changes from the nobles of the second estate, to the common man of the third. The revolutionary changes experienced by women in France were insignificant compared to most other social groups around them; their place in society stayed relatively stagnant. Revolutions often change things for everyone and the French revolution is an example of change at its minimum, at least for women. Most men and women agreed with Rousseau and other thinkers from the Enlightenment that women belonged in the private sphere of the home and therefore had no role to play in public affairs. Most of France's female population worked as peasants, shopkeepers, laundresses, yet women were defined primarily by their sex and marital status, not by their own occupations.As the Revolution of France gave every man passive citizenship that lived there, women were not considered passive or active citizens (Coffin, 553). All 17 articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen did not apply to women as they do not qualify as the “men’ stated in the first article whom hold citizenship (Hunt, 77). Some Ideas, however, were reconsidered and some even made it farther than just a thought such as divorce rights. Women were also granted leave from an abusive husband or father (Coffin, 554). Mary Wollstonecraft argued strongly that reforming education for independent and equal womanhood. Wollstonecraft hinted at the idea at representing women in politics but she stated, “such an idea would excite laughter” (Coffin, 553). Male revolutionaries rejected every call for equal rights for women, but their reactions in print and in speech show that these demands...
Bibliography: Lynn Hunt, The French Revolution and Human Rights, A Brief Documentary History (Boston: BEDFORD BOOKS, 1996), 26-27,77,114,125.
Judith Coffin, Robert Stacey, Joshua Cole, and Carol Symes, Western Civilizations (London & New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2011), 553-554.
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