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Club of patriotic women in a church

The role of women in the Revolution has long been a topic of debate. Deprived of political rights under the Ancien Regime, the 1791 Constitution classed them as "passive" citizens, leading to demands for social and political equality for women and an end to male domination. They expressed these demands using pamphlets and clubs such as the Cercle Social, whose largely male members viewed themselves as contemporary feminists.[174] However, in October 1793, the Assembly banned all women's clubs and the movement was crushed; this was driven by the emphasis on masculinity in a wartime situation, antagonism towards feminine "interference" in state affairs due to Marie Antoinette, and traditional male supremacy.[175] A decade later the Napoleonic Code confirmed and perpetuated women's second-class status.[176]

At the beginning of the Revolution, women took advantage of events to force their way into the political sphere, swore oaths of loyalty, "solemn declarations of patriotic allegiance, [and] affirmations of the political responsibilities of citizenship." Activists included Girondists like Olympe de Gouges, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, and Charlotte Corday, the killer of Marat. Others like Théroigne de Méricourt, Pauline Léon and the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women supported the Jacobins, staged demonstrations in the National Assembly and took part in the October 1789 March to Versailles. Despite this, the constitutions of 1791 and 1793 denied them political rights and democratic citizenship.[177]

On 20 June 1792 a number of armed women took part in a procession that "passed through the halls of the Legislative Assembly, into the Tuileries Garden, and then through the Kin

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