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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: July 2011

10 - The ‘woman question’ and the origins of feminism

from II - Modern liberty and its defenders
This chapter considers the 'woman question' as an expansive and flourishing set of debates within political, literary and social thought in the nineteenth century. Owenism was, like other utopian socialisms, offers one of the first practical experiments in alternative ways of living, and was very influential for how the woman question might be understood. The existence and visibility of growing numbers of single women in the nineteenth century, and particularly the single middle-class woman living on her own earnings became an important woman question in its own right. The 1848 Seneca Falls and the 1850 Worcester conventions explicitly addressed the issue of how to represent sexual difference in a democracy. While the nineteenth-century women's movement has often been characterised as liberal, their rights-claims were often motivated by a sense of the emancipation of the feminine character.
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The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought
  • Online ISBN: 9780511973581
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