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Keywords

France; History; Revolution (France : 1789-1799); Women — Political activity; Women political activists

Abstract

French women were already presenting concerns and ideas into the charged atmosphere during the summoning of the Estates General before the Revolution of 1789 began. This meeting of members from all classes of French society was elected to present the citizens’ concerns to King Louis XVI. From their petition to the king on January 1, 1789 to the laws prohibiting women from gathering in clubs in 1793, women made themselves heard by many means, yet there was never any one particular group or movement which encompassed the entirety of the female population of France. Women’s involvement varied from impassioned pleas for assistance and new guarantees of rights for women before the Revolution to “Amazons,” a reference to the classical warrior women who dominated their society and lived separately from the rest of the world. These “Amazons” used radical democratic methods, such as rioting and protesting in large crowds, to control or make changes to affairs and activities within the new Republic. During this time, however, some women paid in blood for expressing their views and the newly formed “representative” government used their executions to inspire fear in these upstarts who dared to create chaos in New France.


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