The Role of Women in the French Revolution
3rd March 2010
The French revolution, which began in 1789, was a period of hatred and blood. It was a period of political upheaval of the country, and of world importance in France. Issues of rights and equality has always been a heated debate in the world, however, during the French Revolution, equality was the main exhilarating and impassioned concept that was put into matter and effect. The French Revolution, was the period of revolutionaries revolting for liberty and equality, failed to provide equals rights as French men for the French women. Even though, women played a significant role during the ...view middle of the document...
During the Revolution, as the political turmoil intensified, economic crises also began to deepen, with the bread price rising significantly. This angered the commoners, as they were well-aware of the luxurious life the King and the Queen were spending inside their palace. Therefore, in October 5, 1789, the women of Paris marched to the royal palace in Versailles, and forced the King and his family to move to Paris, where the people would have a better chance on keeping an eye on their activities.
Women gathered to march to Versailles to demand an accounting from the King. “They trudged the twelve miles from Paris in the rain, arriving soaked and tired. At the end of the day and during the night, the women were joined by thousands of men who had marched from Paris to join them” (Introduction to the French Revolution). Following this event, the King was forced to accept constitutional monarchy. Instantaneously, women as revolutionaries became a prevailing symbol of the power of the Revolution, but not in the eyes of men.
Following the assassination of Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday furthered an extra fervor to the Revolution; conversely, she also ended up in the guillotine. She is responsible for the murder of Jean-Paul-Marat, who was a journalist, and the leader of radical Montagnard faction during the French Revolution. This was the most dramatic individual act of resistance to the Revolution. “Marat published a newspaper, The Friend of the People, that violently denounced anyone who opposed the direction of the Revolution; he called for the heads of aristocrats, hoarders, unsuccessful generals, and even moderate republicans, such as Condorcet, who supported the Revolution but resisted its tendency toward violence and intimidation” (Introduction to the French Revolution). It is know that Corday was greatly disturbed by the gory events in her country, and wanted to do something to resolve it. During the same time, Marat had been regularly publishing names of the people to be put under the guillotine. When he marched into the hall of the National Convention, he demanded another execution of the twenty-two Girond elected representatives. Finally, Corday decided that the Revolution has gone so far, and on July 13 1793, Corday arrived to Paris. She pretended to go meet him in order to provide him with a list of names of some Gironds who could be dangerous. Marat who suffered from a disease was in a bath of medicinal herbs. Just then she stabbed him on his chest. However, she was caught by his attendants before she could escape. Marat became a symbol of the Revolution, and Corday was sentenced to guillotine, where on her trial she asserted, “I told my plans to no one. I was not killing a man, but a wild beast that was devouring the French people” (Loomis 149). However, the vainness of Corday’s act did not weaken the role of women in the French Revolution.
Although, men refused to have the same political rights as women, however, many women...