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A Vindication of the Rights of Men
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Revolutionary in all senses of the word, this classic treatise on republicanism, individual merit, and inherent human worth was published in England to great acclaim in 1790, a response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, which denounced the upheaval on the Continent and voiced support for the aristocracy. Formulated as a letter written to him, this pamphlet--the blog posting of its day--is a passionate and beautifully witty rebuke of crumbling and ineffectual tradition and a stirring call to replace hidebound monarchy with a society in which all citizens--men and women, moneyed and working class--are granted equal opportunity to access wealth both material and spiritual. Originally published anonymously--and selling out its first edition in weeks--a second edition revealed its author as female... which led to its inevitable dismissal as the "irrational," "emotional" work of a "mere" woman. Today, however, we recognize this as a foundational work of feminist theory--one both remarkably intellectual and highly entertaining. British writer and educator MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT (1759-1797), the mother of Frankenstein author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, espoused her then-radical feminist and liberal philosophies in other such works as Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1787) and History and Moral View of the Origins and Progress of the French Revolution (1793).
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