Revolutionaries in France and America

De Gouge was a playwright and a political activist in 18th century France. In her “Declaration of the Rights of Women,” she addresses the unscrupulous oppression under which women have endured and the prejudice that have surrounding prejudice implemented by their male counterparts. De Gouge renounces the male-written law not only in the private sphere but also in the public sphere by stating that “our French legislators have long ensnared by political practices now out of date.” She requests women to question what they have gained from the revolution and asks them to acknowledge all that they have been denied. De Gouge suggests several ways in which women (who are willing to do so) can free themselves from the chains society has imposed on them. She states that women can be “prepared through national education, the restoration of morals, and conjugal conventions.” Her idea of an effective social contract between men and women would include communal wealth and the passing down of family wealth to the respective kin. De Gouge calls for a “fraternal union” for her belief that it will consequently “produce at the end a perfect harmony.” Most importantly, de Gouge offers the social contract as a way to elevate the latent souls of women and to have them conjoined with those of man. She acknowledges that upon writing this document, she will encounter vehement opposition, mostly by “hypocrites, prudes, and the clergy.” De Gouge contract is intricate and comprehensive but her message is simple: once prejudice is exterminated, morals are sanctified, and nature returns to its original state, man and woman can enjoy equal privileges and freedom.

 

Similarly to the way to de Gouge condemns the ways in which man has utilized societal norms to sustain the oppression of women, the Declaration of Independence denounces the tyrannical politics of Great Britain. This document outlines specific ways in which the people have been denied their natural rights and freedom, along with the ways in which the British governors have failed to serve for the public good. The document states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and whenever these natural rights are denied, it is the “right of the people to alter or abolish it” and to implement a new form of government, and one that offers the most democratic way of life to ensure that all citizens are provided with security and equality.

 

While both documents were derived from different authors and places, each text was created to inform and inspire those who were denied their freedom to form unity and regain their natural rights.

2 thoughts on “Revolutionaries in France and America

  1. I like your point that each text is written to appeal to a certain audience and that their main goal is to “inspire” others. I think it is important to recognize the audience of the texts, like that the Declaration of Independence was written to consistently remind people of why they fled Great Britain and to remind them not to make the same mistakes and to try and improve on what others have done.

  2. Good synthesis of the ideas and emotions behind the article. Inspiration is a critical component of a revolution–it is often what mobilizes the masses and unifies them.

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