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Women in the French Revolution

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Bret Reinhart

on 13 February 2014

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Transcript of Women in the French Revolution

Effect on Women's rights
o Legal right to marry without parental consent
o Gained the right to divorce their husband
o Name the father of illegitimate children
o Women were allowed to inherit property

Women in the French Revolution
Women used as Symbols
Women were commonly used as symbols such as liberty, truth, and equality.
Women were used because if men were used they might be construed as a certain political leader and they were supposed to represent broad ideals.
Important Women's Rights Activists
Marie Gouges- she wrote "The Declaration of the Rights of Women" under the pen name Olympe de Gouges which was modeled after "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen."
She pointed out that while men and women are different they should have equal rights under the law.
She thought women deserved rights especially when it came to things such as divorce and illegitimate children.
Women's March on Versailles
More than 6,000 women of mixed social classes marched to Versailles to demand bread from the King and Queen
One important aspect of this was that a mixed group of social classes participated
Government Reaction
Women were "ill-suited for elevated thoughts and serious meditations."
Political clubs were outlawed by revolutionary government because of altercations between women
In May 1795 women were prohibited from meeting in groups of five or more on the street
Women's Participation in Revolution
Participated in riots over the price of food
Started social clubs to discuss political ideas
What were they fighting for?
Aristocratic women
The right to vote
Equality in Marriage
Initiating divorce
Market women
Better work conditions
Social injustice between upper and lower class
Other important women!
Pauline Leon
She founded the "Society of Revolutionary Republican Women"
Charlotte Corday
She assassinated revolutionary journalist Jean Paul Marat in his home.
She died by guillotine for the murder.
Questions for Further Discussion
Did women really have a "revolution"? Overall, do you think it was a success or a defeat?
Do you think that writings such as the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen" acted as a catalyst for women to start questioning their social status, or was it inevitable that they would start questioning their role in society?
“Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights"
"I killed one man to save 100,000."
Different Ideologies
Rousseau vs.
Both believed women's role was at home taking care of children
They differed on how they thought this should be accomplished.
Condorcet thought that women should be educated to be "companions" to their husbands. Rousseau argued that women did not need education to fulfill their role.
Both groups thought that women should be educated.
Full transcript