Revolutionary era, when the ideology of separate spheres widened the gender divide between private and public spaces, many conservatives in Britain were convinced that women's interference in politics constituted what was wrong with French republicanism. 46 Decrying the political participation of women as a specifically French practice increased after the outbreak of war in 1793. 47 A preoccupation with the need to reinstate familial authority by insisting that women's place be in the home became major elements in anti-Jacobin, counterrevolutionary propaganda. 48 And one of the most effective representations deployed to prove that the conditions of Terror persisted in France and threatened to cross the channel were those in which the streets of Paris were shown to be overrun with madwomen. 49
Presenting women's political activity as an especially undesirable aspect of revolutionary upheaval was achieved in part by situating that activity within the satirical discourse of madness just at the moment when truth claims being made for the rising gender stereotype of madness in women were gaining credibility. Depictions of revolutionary women in political caricature are thus exemplary of the ways in which the visual reconstruction of French revolutionary events was subjected to persistent misrepresentation in the service of the Revolution debate's principal contested issues. The porous relations between allegory and realism, and between realism and distortion that are peculiar to the genre of political caricature, rendered it particularly useful in the campaign to redefine the Revolutionary decade so as to ensure the representational order of the future.