The Women's Movement

Martin Pugh charts the Women's Movement's origins and growth 1850-1939.

When did modern feminism begin? We usually see its origin in the political ideas of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the French Revolution, which regarded all human beings as rational creatures who enjoyed the same fundamental rights. This gave rise to what is usually called liberal feminism or equal-rights feminism. When the French Revolution broke out in 1789 thirty-three of the famous lists of grievances presented to the Estates General expressed female demands. The intellectual excitement generated in France soon provoked feminist tracts elsewhere. In England Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) and the German Theodore Gottlieb von Hippel published On the Civil Improvement of Women (1794).

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