Women and the Enlightenment the Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

" (Janes, 1978) It was also not due to Wollstonecraft's "assertion that the 'sexes were equal" or due to her demand for opportunities for education for women. The proposals stated by Wollstonecraft for education met with public approval and her political and economic views are stated to have "...excited little negative or positive comment at the time of publication." (Janes, 1978) In fact, it is stated by Janes (1978) that the "element that cam disturbingly close to men's bosoms was the attack on the sexual character of women, the denial that a peculiarly feminine cast of mind was desirable." (Janes, 1978)

III. Nicholson (1990)

The work of Nicholson (1990) entitled: "The Eleventh Commandment: Sex and Spirit in Wollstonecraft and Malthus" that Wollstonecraft "reaches a concept of female emancipation hardly realized in nearly 200 years...by rigorous deduction from her image of God." However, Wollstonecraft's sexual argument is stated to hinge "on a spiritual one: immortality demands a certain kind of sexual life now." (Nicholson, 1990) Her work was generally approved of at the time of the 'Vindication' (1792) however, it is stated that by the time of 'Population' (1798) "things had changed: The shift in the treatment of feminist works that seemed to threaten the established relations between the sexes": most disturbing of all was the attack on the sexual character of women...Men who were glad to agree that mind is of not sex were not pleased to acknowledge that manners (or power) should be of not sex." (Nicholson, 1990) Nicholson states that equalizing thought "became anathema." (Nicholson, 1990) Wollstonecraft through "an unbroken chain of deductions...from her image of God" is led to the emancipation of women in her reasoning.

IV. Barker (1989)

The work of Barker- Benfield (1989) entitled: "Mary Wollstonecraft: Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthwoman" states that the largest amount of the prose of Wollstonecraft was "devoted...[to] politics." However, Wollstonecraft criticizes as well the "over-developed sensibility"
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of women and particularly in England in her writing of women and their obsession "with 'shopping' fashions and emulation marked a new level of refined civilization among middle-class of women, of easeful, materialist culture." (Barker- Benfield, 1989) Wollstonecraft's intention is stated to be the extension of the political values of "the eighteenth-century Commonwealthman to woman that one can appreciate the value of her consideration of a standing army." In other words, Wollstonecraft compares the idle life of the soldiers in a standing army to the domesticity idleness or the absence that domesticity creates of women in civil society in its hold on women. Wollstonecraft secondly "distinguishes between, on the one hand the dynastic wars of greedy, overweening princes and corrupt, imperialistic governments and, on the other, wars necessary for defense." (Barker- Benfield, 1989) Wollstonecraft held that women should be allowed to participate fully in civic affairs including in matters of the senate and matters of war "to keep their faculties from rusting." (Barker- Benfield, 1989) Barker states that the unmistakable call of Wollstonecraft "for a standard of political virtues common to both sexes was lost in the 1790s." (1989)

Summary and Conclusion

Wollstonecraft as demonstrated by the works reviewed in this study was set apart from her colleagues in that she expressed a need for equality for both sexes instead of merely focusing on equality for women. Wollstonecraft understood that there were male sectors in society that were just as inherently waved aside in terms of their rights and equality of representation as were women of the day.

Bibliography

Barker-Benfield, G.J. (1989) Mary Wollstonecraft: Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthwoman," Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1989): 95-115.

Ferguson, Susan (1999)The Radical Ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft," Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, vol. 32, no. 3 (Sep., 1999): 427-50.

Nicholson, Mervyn (1990) The Eleventh Commandment: Sex and Spirit in Wollstonecraft and Malthus," Journal…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Barker-Benfield, G.J. (1989) Mary Wollstonecraft: Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthwoman," Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1989): 95-115.

Ferguson, Susan (1999)The Radical Ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft," Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, vol. 32, no. 3 (Sep., 1999): 427-50.

Nicholson, Mervyn (1990) The Eleventh Commandment: Sex and Spirit in Wollstonecraft and Malthus," Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 51, no. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1990):. 401-21.

Janes, R.M. (1978) On the Reception of Mary Wollstonecraft's: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 39, no. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978): 293-302.

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