The Rights of Women in 1700s

Topics: Feminism, Woman, Women's suffrage Pages: 4 (1058 words) Published: November 9, 2006
"Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government." (Wollstonecraft, 1792). Women began to consider that the way they had been being treated might have not been fair. Women of the eighteenth century did not wish to have greater power then men. They only wished for equal rights.

Young girls could only dream of continuing their schooling and obtaining a higher education. Men, who had control over women, didn't believe women were intelligent enough. God forbid they hurt themselves through straining their brains! In men's minds, a woman should have stayed at home taking care of her husband's house and children while he was away on business. Women were also expected to educate the male children before they were old enough to go to school and acquire more knowledge then their mother. Girls looked upon their brothers who would leave home to explore the world and start new lives with jealousy. Girls only had the option to dwell at home and learn the responsibilities of being a good wife and very much a slave to her future husband.

Mary Wollstonecraft, an English writer, didn't agree with that philosophy. She wrote an essay; which was as long as a book, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, on women's lives. She stressed the unfairness of their short education and limited possibilities. She argued that women were rational creatures too and should be granted the same rights as every male citizen. In her opinion, fashion and beauty were a waste of time that denigrated women and provided men with stereotypical ideas about them. Mary was aware of the importance of the family life, however, she believed that a woman's social life was important too, since it educated her. Her responsibility was to teach the children, that is why she must have had some life experience as well. She stated that- "Contending for the rights of women, my main argument is built on this simple...

References: Norton, Mary Beth.(1980). Liberty 's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800. New York: Little, Brown and Company
Rossi, Alice.(1973).The Feminist Papers
Moynihan, Ruth Barnes, Russett, Cynthia, and Crumpacker, Laurie(1993) Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
Kallen, Stuart A
Kerber, Linda K. and Dehart, Jane Sherron.(1991). Women 's America: Refocusing the Past. New York: Oxford University Press
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