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Clericals, Anticlericals and the Women's Movement in France under the Third Republic

  • James F. McMillan (a1)

Extract

Most historians of modern France would agree that the quarrel between clericals and anticlericals was one of the most significant political issues in French politics between 1870 and 1914, especially in the period before the passing of the law which separated Church and State in 1905. The charges brought against the Catholic Church by the anticlericals were many, but until recently few students of nineteenth-century France have commented on the fact that one of their most serious allegations was that the Church oppressed women. Perhaps the most celebrated formulation of this theory came from the pen of the historian Michelet who, in a virulent polemic entitled Priests, women and the family, bitterly attacked the powers which priests were reputed to exercise over the female mind through the institution of the confessional, to the great detriment of marital life and family unity.

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1 For a good general introduction see McManners, J., Church and state in France1870–1914 (London, 1972).

2 On the development of the anticlerical movement, see Rémond, R., L'anticléricalisme en France de 1815 à nos jours (Paris, 1975). Also, Zeldin, T., France 1848–1945. 11, Intellect, taste and anxiety (Oxford, 1977), 1024–39.

3 Michelet, J., Du priêtre, de la femme et de la famille (Paris, 1845), discussed by Zeldin, T., ‘The conflict of moralities’ in Zeldin, T. (ed.), Conflicts in French society: anticlericalism, education and morals in the nineteenth century (London, 1970).

4 Ferry, J., Discours sur l'égaliti de I'education (Paris, 1870).

5 Bidelman, P. K., ‘The feminist movement in France: the formative years 1858–1889’, Ph.D thesis (Michigan State University, 1975).

6 Evans, R. J., The feminists: women's emancipation movements in Europe, America and Australasia 1840–1920 (London, 1977), p. 124.

7 Bidelman, ‘Feminist movement’, p. 14.

8 Ruether, R. R. (ed.), Religion and sexism. Images of women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions (New York, 1974); Noonan, J. T., Contraception. A history of its treatment by the catholic theologians and canonists (Harvard, 1965).

9 Encyclical Rerum novarum, reproduced in Fremantle, A. (ed.), The social teachings of the Catholic Church (New York, 1963), pp. 2056.

10 Pope Benedict XV, letter of 27 Dec. 1917, quoted in Monks of Solesmes (ed.), Papal teachings, The woman in the modern world (Boston, 1959), p. 27.

11 Zeldin, ‘The conflict of moralities’.

12 Proudhon, P. J., De la justice dans la Révolution et dans L'Eglise (Paris, 1858); idem, La pornocratie m lesfemmes dans les temps modernes (Paris, 1875). The formula ‘courtisane ou ménagère’ is used in Contradictions économiques. La propriété, 11 (Paris, 1846), 197.

13 Simon, J., La femme au vingtième siècle (Paris, 1892), p. 67.

14 Naquet, A., Le divorce (Paris, 1877).

15 Acomb, E. M., The French laic laws 1879–1889: the first anticlerical campaign of the Third Republic (New York, 1941), pp. 193202.

16 Ibid. p. 196.

17 Zeldin, T., France 1848–1945. 1, Ambition, love and politics (Oxford, 1973), 357.

18 Pelletier, M., L'émancipation sexuelle de la femme (Paris, 1911); idem, La désegrégation de la famille (Paris, n.d.); idem, Vamour el la maternité (Paris, n.d.).

19 In the feminist society associated with the newspaper La Française, only 27 out of 121 members were single and of these only one by deliberate choice. (La Française, 22 Sept. 1907.)

20 Congrès international de la condition el des droits desfemmes: compte-rendu (Paris, 1901), pp. 215 ff.

21 Conges national des droits civils et du suffrage des femmes, 26–28 juin 1908, compte-rendu par Mme Oddo-Deflou (Paris, 1911), p. 90.

22 Ibid. pp. 95 ff.

23 Dupanloup, Mgr F., M. Duruy et l'éducation des files: lettre à un de ses collègues (Paris, 1867); idem, Seconde lettre sur M. Duruy et l'éducation des files (Paris, 1867). See also Horvath, S. A., ‘Victor Duruy and the controversy over secondary education for girls’, French Historical Studies, VIII (1975).

24 Dupanloup, Mgr F., Lettres sur l'éducation des files et sur les etudes qui conviennent aux femmes dans lemonade, 2nd edn (Paris, 1879).

25 Archives nationales (AN) F 17 8755.

26 Sée, C., Lycées et collèges de jeunes filles (Paris, 1884).

27 For the fullest discussion to date of the secondary education of girls see Mayeur, F., l'enseignement secondaire des jeunes filles sous la Troisième République (Paris, 1977).

28 For example Mile Marguérite Clément of the UFSF, who taught at the girls’ lycée at Versailles.

29 Mayeur, Enseignement secondaire, pp. 388 ff.

30 The Fédération Féministe Universitaire was largely the creation of Marie Guérin, a primary teacher, who started a campaign in 1903 for equal pay for women teachers. Its newspaper was L;Action Féministe.

31 Mayeur, Enseignement secondaire, pp. 553 ff.

32 Coireault, G., ‘Les cinquantes premières années de l'enseignement secondaire féminine 1880–1930, thèse complémentaire (Poitiers, 1940), pp. 129–30.

33 Marichy, J.-P., La deuxième chambre dans la vie politique française depuis 1875 (Paris, 1969) pp. 618 ff.

34 Impressions Sénat (1919), vol. 5, no. 564 and Journal Officiel (J.O.) Senat (7 Nov. 1922).

35 Albistur, M. and Armogathe, D., Histoire du féminisme français du moyen âge à nos jours (Paris, 1977) P. 381.

36 Goguel, F., La politique des partis sous la Troisime République 1871–1939, 3rd edn (Paris, 1958), pp. 222–3.

37 Abbé de, Gibergues, Les devoirs des hommes envers les femmes (Paris, 1903), p. 178.

38 Ibid. pp. 187–8.

39 Naudet, Abbé P., Pour la femme: études féminists (Paris, 1903).

40 Abbé de, Sertillanges, Féminisms et christianisme (Paris, 1921), p. 337.

41 Ibid. p. 171.

42 Semaines sociales de France. La femme dans la société (Nancy, 1927), p. 121.

43 Ibid. pp. 55 ff.

44 Félix-Faure-Goyau, L., La femme au foyer et dans la cité (Paris, 1917).

45 Semaines socials. Rigaud, Cf. L., Les droits de la femme (Paris, 1927).

46 Barthélemy, J., Le vote des femmes (Paris, 1920).

47 Bidelman, ‘Feminist movement’, p. 106.

48 J. O. Chambre, 15 May 1919

49 J. O. Serial, 7 Nov. 1922.

50 Grinberg, S., Historie du mouvement suffragiste depuis 1848 (Paris, 1926).

51 Lecomte, G., La femme dans la société moderne (lecture organized by the Ligue Frariçaise: Paris, 1925).

52 Sowerwine, C., Les femmes et le socialisme: une siècle d'histoire (Paris, 1978).

53 Delatour, Y., ‘Les effets de la guerre sur la situation de la Française d'après la presse feminine 1914–1918', diplôme d'études supérieures (Paris, 1965), p. 23.

54 Archives de la Préfecture de Police (A.P.P.) B/a 1651, correspondance, 13 Feb. 1935.

55 Rollet, H., Andrée Butillard et leféminisme chrétien (Paris, 1960).

56 Fletcher, M., Christian Feminism: a charter of rights and duties (London, 1915); M. Turmann, Initiatives féminines (Paris, 1903.)

57 Bidelman, ‘Feminist movement’, p. 92. Evans, The feminists, p. 134.

58 Brault, E., La franc-maçonnerie et l'émancipation des femmes (Paris, 1954).

59 Pelletier, M., L'admission des femmes dans la franc-maçonnerie (Paris, 1905).

60 Mellor, A., La vie quotidienne de lafranc-maçonnerie française de xviiie siècle à nos jours (Paris, 1973), pp. 205–7.

61 I discuss the development of organized feminism in my forthcoming book, Housewife or harlot: the place of women in French society1870–1940 (Harvester Press).

62 Information on these literary feminists may be obtained in two books by Edith Thomas, Les pétroleuses (Paris, 1963) and Louise Michel (Paris, 1971).

63 Bidelman, P. K., ’The politics of French feminism: Léon Richer and the Ligue Française pour le Droit des Femmes 1882–1891’, Historical Reflexions, III (1976), p. 106.

64 Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand (BMD): dossier Jeanne Schmall.

65 B.M.D.: dossier Jeanne Oddo-Deflou.

66 Bidelman, ‘Feminist movement’, p. 81.

67 Ibid. p. 105.

68 Exposition universelle internationale de 1889: Actes du congrès international des œuvres el institutions féminines (Paris, 1890).

69 Deuxième congrès international des œceuvres et institutions féminines: compte-rendu des travaux, 4 vols. (Paris, 1902).

70 B.M.D.: dossier Conseil National des Femmes Françaises. See also AN F 713226: dossier La propagande féminine en faveur de la paix.

71 La Française, 9 May 1914.

72 Bidelman, ‘Feminist movement’, p. 91.

73 BMD: dossier Sarah Monod.

74 BMD: dossier Mme Siegfried.

75 BMD: dossier Mme de Witt-Schlumberger.

76 Cf. Bogelot, I., Trente arts de solidarité 1877–1908 (Paris, 1908).

77 BMD: dossier Avril de Sainte-Croix.

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