We Want Rights Essay

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Pages: 7

We want rights: The Feminism in French Revolution

Linyan (Steven) Ma

Deanne Schultz History 222 March 31, 2014 The French Revolution was a period of class conflict which dramatically altered the political and social roles of France. It brought with many sweeping changes in the realm of human rights both to France and the world. Throughout the revolution, French citizens began to fight for enhancing political and human rights. Feminism was the indispensable movement in it.Women had many roles such as their political involvement and contributions to the ideologies during the revolution period. However, compared with all their contributions, women were still victimized by the changes that occurred. Women could not have rights to publish their opinions in politics, even at home. Fortunately, the ideas of Enlightenment and the French Revolution meant that women could began to fight for their rights through clubs and participating in the revolution. Why did women want to have the same rights as men? How did the revolution affect the ideology of the Feminism? This essay will analyze Feminism in the French Revolution from women’s position, their contribution in the revolution, and how they fought for their rights. Women did not have rights before the French Revolution. The book “Rebel daughters: Women and the french revolution” by Melzer, Sara E., Leslie W. Rabine, and MyiLibrary introduced women’s disadvantage position. They had practically no civil and property rights at all. Therefore to be women’s treatment was completely terrible at that time. Firstly, women did not have any civil rights. In fact, women were almost followed by men’s perceived. Women in France, whatever single or married, were both had few rights in law. They were perceived not to control their thinking or make decisions on their own: “a single woman remained under her father's authority until she married; marriage transferred her to her husband's rule. Once married, she generally had no control over her person or her property”1 . The male citizen’s destiny in France involved service to their motherland like David Horatii, who is “the most reproduced image of fraternal revolutionary Zeitgeist, [who] was prepared to lay down his life in defence of republican values”2. However, women did not have the same rights as men. Women’s “only task was to produce and nurture citizens who would count themselves honoured to die for the Republic of Virtue”3. Women did not have political rights as well. Males believed “women were not political animals. Nature locked them in the private sphere”4. The career rights of women lacked protections. Women could not choose their career and they were only allowed to work for few businesses. There were a lot of concerns about “men entering traditional female professions such as seamstresses or embroiders”5. Although women were a vulnerable group in France, they demonstrated vast amounts of political participation through shared ideas and beliefs during the French Revolution. Women tried to participate in politics and revolution when they finished the housework. They were politically active throughout the French revolution, and were part of key events that shaped the outcome of the Revolution. They were responsible for the safety and care of their families, which at the time was not an easy task. For example, all French citizens conquered the Bastille and claimed triumph of liberty over despotism on July 14th, 1789. There were hundreds of women who participated in daily marches, concerned about the king's failure to improve the Declaration of Rights. The famine was worsening and bread prices were high let women had to march to Versailles in October 1789, where they obtained a written document sealed by the king promising provisions: “according to [women’s]