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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Source

The English writer Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97) argued against both Burke and Rousseau, defending the notion of natural rights, particularly rights for women, such as equal education. She insisted that women could not become virtuous, even as mothers, unless they won the right to participate in economic and political life on an equal basis with men. Although she did not specifically demand... Read More »

A Woman’s Cahier

Source

This grievance was signed by a certain Madame B*** B*** whose identity is unknown. The provenance appears to be Normandy. Another version of this text, located and republished in the late nineteenth century, is signed by Marie, veuve de Vuigneras, also from Normandy. According to contextual evidence, this document followed the convocation of the Estates–General and the call for the collection... Read More »

Abbé Grégoire, "Memoir in Favor of the People of Color or Mixed–Race of Saint Domingue" (1789)

Source

Baptiste–Henri Grégoire was a parish priest who was elected to the National Assembly by the clergy of Lorraine. He championed the rights of minorities both before the Revolution and in the legislature. The most noted beneficiaries of his attention were Jews and free blacks. He thought giving rights to Jews would encourage assimilation, while giving free blacks a greater stake in society would... Read More »

Antislavery Agitation: Abbé Raynal, Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1770)

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Abbé Guillaume–Thomas Raynal (1711–96), known by his clerical title [abbé refers to ecclesiastical training], first published his multivolume history of European colonization anonymously in French in 1770. Today many sections of it seem almost quaint and hopelessly detailed, for Raynal and his collaborators (among them Diderot) gathered every imaginable fact to support their scathing... Read More »

Article from the Encyclopedia: "Woman"

Source

The article "Woman" was written by four contributors who considered the question from four angles: medicine and the history of opinions about women’s nature; writings about women’s place in the state and marriage; the social differences between men and women; and women’s legal status in different societies. Although the Encyclopedia, the fundamental compendium of the Enlightenment, repeated... Read More »

Calonne, "Programs of Reform," Address to Assembly of Notables (1787)

Source

In 1783, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, a provincial noble, became royal finance minister. At first, he, like Vergennes, saw no need to rationalize the royal treasury or to appease the Parlements. However, by 1786 the deficit had become so huge—one–sixth of the total royal budget—that Calonne knew reforms (meaning more taxes or at least more loans) could no longer be put off. To obtain the... Read More »

Image of Francis de Sales whose works are included in the online library

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Review
This is still quite easily the best single location of source materials in English for the Reformation period online.

Declaration of Independence, 1776

Source

The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), was deeply influenced by the European Enlightenment. He spent many years in Paris and was just as much at home among European intellectuals as he was on his plantation in Virginia. Although a slaveholder, Jefferson wrote eloquently about freedom for the colonists. Even though it was not an official part of the U.S.... Read More »

Detail of an engraving titled "Tabulae Sceleti e Musculorum Corpis Humani" showing a skeleton with an angel

Dream Anatomy

Review
This site, developed as part of an exhibit, remains a valuable online source for the study of the history of anatomy.

Drowning in the Loire by Order of the Fierce Carrier

Source

On 6–7 December 1793, Jean–Baptiste Carrier, a deputy sent by the Convention to suppress the insurrection at Nantes, accepted, if he did not in fact welcome, a measure proposed by the local Revolutionary Tribunal to fill seven boats with an estimated 200–300 prisoners (not all of them yet convicted) and sink them in the Loire River. Some accounts reported that the victims had their hands tied... Read More »

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