What Role Did Women Play In The French Revolution

1446 Words6 Pages

The French Revolution of 1789-1799 aimed to spread Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood through France and through Europe. It wished to create a French Republic and it ultimately resulted in the overthrow and executions of the King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. It failed, however, to secure voting rights for women. Despite this, participation of women in the Revolution was clear. However, the question remains - just how did women help the Revolution, and how important were their roles? Firstly, feminist militancy and activism was very present in the French Revolution. The prime example of this was the March to Versailles of October 1789. Two important womens’ rights activists were Pauline Léon and Théroigne de Méricourt. They called for the permission to protect the Revolution by allowing women to carry pikes, pistols, sabres and rifles. They argued that the right to bear arms would consequentially ‘convert’ women into full citizens, rather than ‘passive citizens’. Thus, on 5th October, a mob of almost 7,000 women marched from Paris to Versailles. They chanted ‘Bread! Bread!’ in response to the King and Queen hoarding bread and feasting in the Palace of Versailles while the common people, the ‘Third Estate’ starved and suffered. When they reached Versailles, they managed to break through the defences of around 20,000 French National Guardsmen, sever the heads of Marie Antoinette’s two bodyguards …show more content…

This club aimed to enhance the rights of the Third Estate and protect the French Revolution. There were meetings held regularly, which up to 180 women attended. One notable achievement of the club was on 20th May 1793, when a group of women demanded bread and the introduction of a Constitution which, among other things promoted male suffrage. When these women were ignored, they went about “sacking shops, seizing grain

Open Document