The Women of the French Revolution

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Women’s involvement in French Revolution contributed to the revolution significantly impacting a demand for political and legal rights. The philosophies for the French Revolution were set out in the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’ which in theory assured freedom and equality to all sectors of civilization. Women in French Revolution had made endless efforts, prior and throughout the revolution to gain political and legal equality among sexes.

The French Revolution of 1789 was a time of revolution for various people of France. Unfortunately, women were not included by the French National Assembly as “citizens” (Benton, 393). Women were considered dependent upon the men in their lives since they were submissive citizens and the strict economic circumstances of the time period resulted in a multitude of misery for them. The women of the French Revolution decided with the basic collective goals of the French Revolution.

After the Revolution, women pursued to attain economic as well as marital equality. In particular, the women of the revolutionary period contributed in various activities which included protesting high food prices and linking women’s societies and clubs.

Women started to establish massive quantities of political participation. While doing their daily chores such as carrying water or shopping numerous women shared philosophies and politics, which shortly led them to contribute in political and ceremonial functions. These social interactions led women to perceive and frequently speak in various clubs. Women in 1789 began to speak in a few clubs. It was in these clubs that women educated themselves to be vocal and shortly becoming secretaries, made up part of delegations and commissions, and even aimed to the presidency.

Women began vocalizing and criticizing social attitudes and human institutions. Women thought if they were to be given the same opportunities in education, they would have the same political positions in society as men. Their contribution in these clubs established political visions, practices in the public domain such as endorsements of the constitution of 1793, protests in contradiction of women’s political authority, and demands for the right to vote. The most predominant of the club’s women contributed in was ‘La Societe des Citoyennes Republiques Revolutionnaires’ established in 1793.

They deliberated how to acquire food to tolerate their families, as well as demanding the punishment of criminals, and the arrest of traitors. Through these political activities’ women established their patriotism, by demanding arms to fight the enemies, protecting the entering of cities and implementing a larger tax on the wealthy in order to help the poor. It is with this patriotism that women established their wanted for the same rights as men and that they were willing to do extensive hard work to achieve these rights.

Even though the French Revolution was a time of cast struggle that histrionically transformed the political and social order of France. Although women had significant and various contributions women were still victimized by the changes that occurred. While these roles had a huge impact on the equality between men and women this impact did not last. Individuals such as Olympe de Gouges and Marie-Jean Roland encouraged women to become involved in the revolution because of their significant political achievements that are still discussed today.

De Gouges expressed that women were born free and equal to men in their rights and that property belonged to both sexes. She felt it necessary for the nobility to realize the injustice of refusing to sit with the Third Estate, later writing a letter to the convention asking that the king’s life be spared. De Gouges claimed the present king, Louis XVI, should not have to pay for the mistakes of his ancestors. Viewing France’s situation from both sides she offered them with a cooperating attitude and a level head, which was importantly needed in a country full of extremists. With these contributions she paved the way for other women optimists.

Marie-Jean Roland was another visionary who combined political action with respect for gender norms. Her three main roles were ‘inciting revolutionary action, formulating policy, and informing other of revolutionary events.’ She believed that due to the restrictions placed by the male society, leading to a lack of education, women were frivolous and vain. Men, therefore inhibited women from achieving their intellectual potential, who in turn limited the contributions women could have made to society. Roland also declared what she felt was necessary conditions for the success of the revolution.

This debate was written about and contested and would lead to the movement toward women’s rights. Women were still unable to own property, receive an education in many circumstances and seen as inferior to men. The birth of mass manufacturing and the Industrial revolution changed some view of women as inferior, when women were needed at times in the workplace, they proved valuable and able-bodyworkers. The factory system also made an impact on child labor. Before factories with laws and rights for workers, poor families were forced to make children work to help support the family (Child Labor, Cody). Numerous children were even taken advantage of in dangerous and unhealthy conditions and put to work in coal and iron mines or chimney sweeps (Child Labor, Cody). Even though the French revolution and beginning of the Industrial revolution were greatly important events in history, they were just stepping stones to overall equality and freedom.

The economic conditions in post-revolutionary years aided fuel for women to seek to change their living status. Their involvement in French Revolution was a turning point. For the first time, women started demanding political rights. They wanted to change their conditions and they believed that French Revolution would bring changes and would be the right time for them to achieve what they wanted. They knew that they had to face a lot of difficulties in order to gain their rights and to ameliorate their social status. The women wanted to be able to seek opportunities to improve their lives and their sense of self-worth.

The heightened demand placed on their families increased the strain their families were already experiencing as a result of the food shortages. Contrary to common belief, women were important contributors to the popular movement during the French Revolution. They staged demonstrations and food riots, presented petitions to the National Assembly, and brought the royal family back to the governmental capital. They agitated ceaselessly for the political and civil rights that they deserved and backed up their demands with well-thought-out logical arguments.

The women of 18th century France pioneered through uncharted ideological, political, and social grounds, but their work was fruitless in establishing women’s rights in the constitution ratified after the French Revolution. Although they contributed a great deal in French Revolution, their involvement always proved controversial. The unfair truth is that men, who believed in the revolution, didn’t t believe in women s rights. As a result, during French Revolution, women were in the middle of acceptance and denial.

The majority of men believed that women’s participation in government was both unnecessary and redundant. Women were assumed to have the same interest and opinions as the men who represented them, and they were repeatedly assured that their husbands, sons, and fathers would always have their best interest at heart. Women were encouraged to support the Revolution by assuming the duties associated with being a good Frenchwomen, not by forming legions or social clubs that argued for equal rights. An aristocratic women’s duty was to live simply and modestly, abjuring luxury, and wearing only French-made clothing. As a wife, the patriotic Frenchwoman was faithful and fecund; as a girl she was required to be virgin. The truly patriotic women would live honesty and attempt to restore morality to the nation.

Women achieved a number of social and civil rights during the Revolution, including the right to equivalent inheritance and the right to divorce on equal terms with men. The French Revolution gave women the opportunity not only to contribute in the revolution demanding their own freedom. They also played an imperative role from the beginning of the conflict. Being concerned about their children s welfare, they wouldn’t hesitate to riot when food was becoming more and more expensive. They were involved in the army and took advantage of the situation to call for the same rights as men. They demanded for universal suffrage and common-law marriages. The women that participated in the revolution were from both aristocratic and labor classes. They tried to contribute in all aspects of revolution. The role woman demonstrated had a significant impact in the French Revolution that have created change and growth for women.

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The Women of the French Revolution. (2021, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-women-of-the-french-revolution/

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