Out of the Shadows: Women and Politics in the French Revolution, 1789-95

Out of the Shadows: Women and Politics in the French Revolution, 1789-95

Out of the Shadows: Women and Politics in the French Revolution, 1789-95

Out of the Shadows: Women and Politics in the French Revolution, 1789-95

Synopsis

"Out of the Shadows demonstrates the importance of the role of women in the French Revolution. It traces the growth of female political awareness and depicts the determination of women of the working class to participate in the life of the new nation despite their government's obstinate denial of the rights of citizenship. The author examines in detail the grassroots involvement of women in the affairs of the country right up until the avalanche of repressive legislation passed in the spring of 1795." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The topic of women's participation in the French Revolution has generally received little attention from historians, who have displayed a tendency to minimize the role of women in the major events of those years, or else to ignore it altogether. In the nineteenth century those who did attempt to deal with the topic chose to approach it with an emphasis on individual women who had for some reason attained a degree of notoriety. This femmes célèbres approach taken by such historians as Jules Michelet and E. Lairtullier succeeded mainly in removing the revolutionary women from the mainstream of history and isolating them in a manner that rendered them secondary in importance to male participants, who were considered to be the key characters in the grandes journées of the Revolution. Their work was valuable, however, in that it provided, in the case of Michelet, a general overview of the female role as well as details of the lives of some individual women. Lairtullier produced a comprehensive work that is still useful due to the wealth of detail that it contains.

Other valuable studies of the female participants were written around the turn of the century. Léopold Lacour, Marc de Villiers, and Adrien Lasserre produced books which brought together some primary material in works of general interest. Jeanne Bouvier, in 1931, continued in this tradition with a synthesis of primary material and interpretation which is still of interest.

But the work of these historians, although valuable, has been largely neglected in general histories of the Revolution. Major researchers . . .

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