Women In The French Revolution Essay

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The French Revolution spread the idea of an egalitarian society. This promise led many women to fight for the revolution with the hopes of gaining their freedom. When the monarchy had been replaced with a legislative government, the equality, liberty, and fraternity promised to women was never fully realized. Women were disempowered during the French Revolution and held more influence during the reign of the monarchy.
The Ancien Régime was arguably a more equal society when it came to the roles of men and women. The revolution gave men liberty and equality, but this was taken away from women with the end of the Ancien Régime. During the reign of the monarchy women could occupy the same political space as men in court and in salons (Rose 257). Noblewomen and widows had the most freedom and could be elected to sit in the Estates-General (Abray 237-238). Though their seats would be few, they were present for important decisions and represented the perspective of women. Through these venues, they had some influence over political opinions and could discuss their views with some integrity intact. In the Second Estate, particularly in the royal court, women could exercise influence over powerful men. Madame de Pompadour was the mistress of King Louis XV and wielded considerable influence in
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The women’s march to Versailles was one of the most important acts of the revolution. Women marched to the royal palace where they demanded reasonable and affordable prices for bread and meat (“Document 19…” 85-86). These demands were met, and they ended up marching the king, his family, and the National Assembly to Paris, where the royal family would be prisoners (“Document 19…” 86-87). This successful effort was empowering to women in the early days of the revolution. A similar mass protest took place after the dissolution of the monarchy that did not have the same successful