Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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Although festivals drew much smaller audiences during the final years of the Revolution, the government continued to celebrate them. Now, however, they tended to commemorate apolitical events: thus a festival, and hymn, devoted to the subject of…

The article "Woman" was written by four contributors who considered the question from four angles: medicine and the history of opinions about women’s nature; writings about women’s place in the state and marriage; the social differences between…

Rousseau was the most controversial and paradoxical of the writers of the Enlightenment. Born in Switzerland, he published important works on politics, music, and in Emile, education. He also wrote one of the most widely read novels of the century,…

Madame de Beaumer (d. 1766) was the first of three women editors of the Journal des Dames, a newspaper founded in Paris in 1759 to encourage women to write seriously. Little is known about her, perhaps because she was a Calvinist and Calvinists in…

Little is known about women’s grievances or feelings in the months leading up to the meeting of the Estates–General. They did not have the right to meet as a group, draft grievances, or vote (except in isolated individual instances) in the…

Stanislas Maillard was a national guardsman known for having taken a leading role in the attack on the Bastille. In 1790 he testified before a commission established by the court in Paris to investigate the events of October 1789. He exaggerates his…

The commission investigating the events of October 1789 also interrogated many women who had participated. Most of them denied any role in the violence, but they did explain their mixture of political and economic motives, citing the high price of…

Condorcet took the question of political rights to its logical conclusions. He argued that if rights were indeed universal, as the doctrine of natural rights and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen both seemed to imply, then they must…

Like many female activists, the Dutch woman Etta Palm D’Aelders did not explicitly articulate a program for equal political rights for women, though that would no doubt have been her ultimate aim. Instead she worked to bring about a change in…

Marie Gouze (1748–93) was a self–educated butcher’s daughter from the south of France who under the name Olympe de Gouges wrote pamphlets and plays on a variety of issues, including slavery, which she attacked as being founded on greed and…
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