Contrary to common belief, women were important contributors to the popular movement during the French Revolution. They staged demonstrations and food riots, presented petitions to the National Assembly, and brought the royal family back to the governmental capital. They agitated ceaselessly for the political and civil rights that they deserved, and backed up their demands with well-thought-out logical arguments. The women of 18th century France pioneered through uncharted ideological, political, and social grounds, but their work was fruitless in establishing women's rights in the constitution ratified after the French Revolution.
The majority of men believed that women's participation in government was both unnecessary and redundant. Women were assumed to have the same interest and opinions as the men who represented them, and they were repeatedly assured that their husbands, sons, and fathers would always have their best interest at heart. Women were encouraged to support the Revolution by assuming the duties associated with being a good Frenchwomen, not by forming legions or social clubs that argued for equal rights. An aristocratic women's duty was to live simply and modestly, abjuring luxury, and wearing only French-made clothing. As a wife, the patriotic Frenchwoman was faithful and fecund; as a girl she was required to be virgin. The truly patriotic women would live honesty and attempt to restore morality to the nation. It was with these opinions that the constitution of 1791 and 1793 were written (1). At no stage were women included with in the definitions of citizenship. Women, like domestic servants, were not considered autonomous human beings; they were nature's'passive' citizens, and their rights were rendered invisible in the constitutions.
The most eloquent and influential male advocate of women's rights was the philosopher Condorcet. In the Essai sur l'admissoin des femm…

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