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He advocated greater independence and autonomy for male children and emphasized the importance of mothers in bringing up children.But many women objected to his insistence that women did not need serious intellectual preparation for life.Women participated in virtually every aspect of the French Revolution, but their participation almost always proved controversial.Women's status in the family, society, and politics had long been a subject of polemics.Among the many writers of the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau published the most influential works on the subject of women's role in society.In his book , he described his vision of an ideal education for women.After the fall of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, politics became the order of the day.

The King invited the three estates—the clergy, the nobility, and the Third Estate (made up of everyone who was not a noble or a cleric)—to elect deputies through an elaborate, multilayered electoral process and to draw up lists of their grievances.In the eighteenth century, those who favored improving the status of women insisted primarily on women's right to an education (rather than on the right to vote, for instance, which few men enjoyed).The writers of the Enlightenment most often took a traditional stance on "the women question"; they viewed women as biologically and therefore socially different from men, destined to play domestic roles inside the family rather than public, political ones.In part, this lack of interest followed from the fact that women were not considered a persecuted group like Calvinists, Jews, or slaves.Although women's property rights and financial independence met with many restrictions under French law and custom, most men and women agreed with Rousseau and other Enlightenment thinkers that women belonged in the private sphere of the home and therefore had no role to play in public affairs.When the people of Paris rose up, armed themselves, and assaulted the royal fortress-prison in the center of Paris, they scuttled any royal or aristocratic plans to stop the Revolution in its tracks by arresting the deputies or closing the new National Assembly.In October 1789 the Revolution seemed to hang in the balance once again.In the midst of a continuing shortage of bread, rumors circulated that the royal guards at Versailles, the palace where the King and his family resided, had trampled on the revolutionary colors (red, white, and blue) and plotted counterrevolution.In response, a crowd of women in Paris gathered to march to Versailles to demand an accounting from the King.They trudged the twelve miles from Paris in the rain, arriving soaked and tired.At the end of the day and during the night, the women were joined by thousands of men who had marched from Paris to join them.


  1. Essay Preview. More ↓. Women's Rights During the French Revolution The very first time women began to ban together for the same rights that men have was.

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