Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

(1792)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

The introduction to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman outlines Wollstonecraft’s main reasons for writing the treatise and her primary arguments for women's independence. She notes her deliberate use of simple, unadorned prose rather than flowery phrases to emphasize the simple truths she will present. She divides her discussion into two components: the consideration of women as human beings and the consideration of their separate role by gender. She further observes that women within different social classes exhibit different moral characters based on their class experiences, with the middle class the closest to a natural state.

She is careful to note that she is not advocating revolution but rather utilizing education to develop women's independence. The center point of Wollstonecraft's argument is the right to a proper female education centered on reason and women's development as humans foremost. Such education would replace...

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Mary Wollstonecraft (Library of Congress)

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