Sunday, July 01, 2007

Modern History Sourcebook: Olympe de Gouge: Declaration of the Rights of Women, 1791
Olympe de Gouges, a butcher's daughter, proved to be one of the most outspoken and articulate women revolutionaries. In 1791 she wrote the following declaration, directly challenging the inferiority presumed of women by the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Her attempts to push this idea lead to her being charged with treason during the rule of the National Convention. She was quickly arrested, tried, and on November 3, 1793, executed by the guillotine.
Woman, wake up; the tocsin of reason is being heard throughout the whole universe; discover your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and lies. The flame of truth has dispersed all the clouds of folly and usurpation. Enslaved man has multiplied his strength and needs recourse to yours to break his chains. Having become free, he has become unjust to his companion. Oh, women, women! When will you cease to be blind?

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