Feminism pt 3: The 1700’s

When we understand rights clearly, then we don’t need to be feminists or non-feminists. We don’t need to stand in anyone’s camp; we can stand on truth. ~Audrey Rindlisbacher 

As we move forward in time, and the freedom of women in the West expands, we see a new movement to extend greater educational opportunities to women. The voices for this advancement increased until eventually the majority of women were not only literate but had access to traditional schools and education. 

But upon what does the the idea of expanded education rest for women? Rights!

It is because women are also human, because they share reason and intellect with men, that they can claim not the privilege but the right to receive as much as education as they can. 

That’s why in this podcast we pause to introduce the origin of rights and their importance in the question of women and feminism. Once understand, the rest of the rights of women follow. 

Listener’s Guide:

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast. 

3:35      A discussion on ‘Rights’
6:09     Magna Charta
8:13      Lysander Spooner

9:42      A discussion of duty
10:55   Four Main Rights
14:05   The education of women – Daniel Defoe
23:54   Mary Wollstonecraft
28:33   Key ideas of feminism pre-WWII

Quotes from this episode:

“I plead not for myself but for my sex. My own personal wants, anyway, amount to very little. For many years I have regarded independence as the great blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and even if I end up living on a barren heath, I will always guarantee my independence by contracting my wants.~Mary Wollstonecraft

“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men, but over themselves.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft

“Fighting for the rights of women, my main argument is built on this simple principle: If woman isn’t fitted by education to become man’s companion, she will stop the progress of knowledge, because truth must be common to all; if it isn’t, it won’t be able to influence how people in general behave. And how can woman be expected to cooperate if she doesn’t know why she ought to be virtuous; if freedom doesn’t strengthen her reason until she understands her duty and sees how it is connected with her real good? If children are to be brought up to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft

“Surely, sir, you won’t say that a duty can be binding without being founded on reason! Arguments for civil and political rights can be drawn from reason; and with that splendid support, the more understanding women acquire the more they will be attached to their duty, understanding it. Unless they understand it—unless their morals are based on the same immutable principles as those of man—no authority can make them act virtuously. ” ~Mary Wollstonecraft

“If women aren’t permitted to enjoy legitimate rights, they will seek illicit privileges.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft

“In the present state of society, it seems that we have to go back to first principles in search of the simplest truths, and to fight against some prevailing prejudice for every inch of ground.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft  

“Only a strong mind can resolutely form its own principles.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft

“I have often thought of it as one of the most barbarous customs in the world, considering us as a civilized and a Christian country, that we deny the advantages of learning to women. We reproach the sex every day with folly and impertinence; while I am confident, had they the advantages of education equal to us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves. ~Daniel Defoe

But besides this, they should be taught languages, as particularly French and Italian: and I would venture the injury of giving a woman more tongues than one. They should, as a particular study, be taught all the graces of speech, and all the necessary air of conversation; which our common education is so defective in, that I need not expose it. They should be brought to read books, and especially history; and so, to read as to make them understand the world, and be able to know and judge of things when they hear of them. ~Daniel Defoe

“And, without partiality, a woman of sense and manners is the finest and most delicate part of God’s Creation, the glory of Her Maker, and the great instance of His singular regard to man, His darling creature: to whom He gave the best gift either God could bestow or man receive. And ’tis the sordidest piece of folly and ingratitude in the world, to withhold from the sex the due luster which the advantages of education gives to the natural beauty of their minds.” ~Daniel Defoe

“A woman well-bred and well taught, furnished with the additional accomplishments of knowledge and behavior, is a creature without comparison. Her society is the emblem of sublimer enjoyments, her person is angelic, and her conversation heavenly. She is all softness and sweetness, peace, love, wit, and delight. She is every way suitable to the sublimest wish, and the man that has such a one to his portion has nothing to do but to rejoice in her, and be thankful.” ~Daniel Defoe

“The great distinguishing difference, which is seen in the world between men and women, is in their education; and this is manifested by comparing it with the difference between one man or woman, and another.” ~Daniel Defoe

“And herein it is that I take upon me to make such a bold assertion, that all the world are mistaken in their practice about women. For I cannot think that God Almighty ever made them so delicate, so glorious creatures; and furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and so delightful to mankind; with souls capable of the same accomplishments with men: and all, to be only Stewards of our Houses, Cooks, and Slaves.” ~Daniel Defoe

“The ancient maxim makes the sum of a man’s legal duty to his fellow men to be simply this: ‘To live honestly, to hurt no one, to give every man his due.” ~Lysander Spooner

“If you imagine your rights as one side of a coin, then the other side is duty. Your rights are my duty. ~Audrey Rindlisbacher 

“If there is justice, then that means there is natural law and from that flow natural principles and they can’t be exterminated. No matter what form of government you have, no matter what kind of civilization you live in, no matter what you were taught growing up, the inherent understanding that you have rights is born in you.~Audrey Rindlisbacher 

When we understand rights clearly, then we don’t need to be feminists or non-feminists. We don’t need to stand in anyone’s camp; we can stand on truth. ~Audrey Rindlisbacher 

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