Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




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A brief commentary prepared by Mary Sanderson, PhD, Lecturer, History, on the following work:

Mary Wollstonecraft
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects
1792; first edition; original publisher boards


Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is one of the key foundational texts of Western feminism.

An early supporter of the French Revolution, Wollstonecraft joined Thomas Paine in protesting the inequalities of British society, calling for the elimination of hereditary rule and the creation of a new political order based on reason and equality. However, she went beyond most radicals by insisting that the subjugation of women was also an example of social corruption and tyranny that should be alleviated for the good of all.

This book helped establish Wollstonecraft as a leading radical thinker of her time period. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman has continued to resonate with readers since its publication, inspiring such American feminist thinkers as Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony and the early-twentieth-century anarchist Emma Goldman.

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Laura Sextro, a lecturer in history, discusses the political implications of Mary Wollstonecraft’s writing on eighteenth-century social thought.

Wollstonecraft: ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects’


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