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The Right to Rule and the Rights of Women
Queen Victoria and the Women's Movement


  • Date Published: September 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108484848

$ 99.99

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About the Authors
  • Queen Victoria is often cast as a foe of the women's movement - the sovereign who famously declared women's rights to be a 'mad, wicked folly'. Yet these words weren't circulated publicly until after the Queen's death in 1901. Beginning with this insight, this book reveals Victoria as a ruler who captured the imaginations of nineteenth-century feminists. Women's rights activists routinely used Victoria to assert their own claims to citizenship. So popular was their strategy that it even motivated anti-suffragists to launch their own campaign to distance Queen Victoria from feminist initiatives. In highlighting these exchanges, this book draws attention to the intricate and often overlooked connections between the histories of women, the monarchy, and the state. In the process, it sheds light on the development of constitutional monarchy, concepts of female leadership, and the powerful role that the Crown - and queens specifically - have played in modern British culture and politics.

    • Offers a comprehensive and historical account of Queen Victoria's role in the women's movement
    • Uses a diverse range of key primary sources from the period including Royal Archive records, suffrage correspondence, flyers, memorabilia and petitions
    • Places women's and gender history within its broader social, cultural and political context
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'How did, could, and should women hold political power? Arianne Chernock ingeniously probes invocations and imaginings of Queen Victoria to deliver an entirely fresh account of British women's rights. This elegant, perceptive book will be as valuable for historians of the Victorian era as it is resonant for anyone interested in how sovereignty and political activism work.' Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'A careful analysis of what two opposing political movements - women's rights activists and social conservatives - saw when they looked at Victoria, and the uses to which each group tried to put the Queen. Chernock's argument that anti-suffragists helped lay the foundation for Britain's profoundly apolitical modern monarchy is provocative, new, and important.' Susie Steinbach, Hamline University, Minnesota

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108484848
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    Introduction: a mad, wicked folly?
    1. The radicalism of female rule in eighteenth-century Britain
    2. 'An argument of a very popular character': Queen Victoria in the early women's movement, c. 1832–76
    3. Rethinking the 'right to rule' in Victorian Britain
    4. The anti-suffragists' Queen
    5. 'No more fitting commemoration'?: Reclaiming Victoria for the women's movement during the Golden and Diamond Jubilees
    Conclusion: Queen Victoria versus the suffragettes: the politics of queenship in Edwardian Britain
    A note on sources

  • Author

    Arianne Chernock, Boston University
    Arianne Chernock is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Boston University. Her first book, Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism (2010), was awarded the John Ben Snow Prize by the North American Conference on British Studies. She frequently contributes to print, television and radio outlets.

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