Olympe de Gouges

April 24, 2012 | | Comments Off on Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges was born in 1748 in Montauban near Toulouse in France as Marie Gouze. She came from petit-bourgeois origins. Although just as intelligent as she was pretty, no attention was given to her education. She could hardly read or write, and coming from the South of France only spoke French poorly and later dictated all her work to her secretary.



With her ” Declaration of the Rights of Women and Women Citizens,” Olympe de Gouges was the first person to formulate wholly comprehensive human and citizens rights. The declaration caused excitement throughout France and even abroad. Her paper “The Three Urns or the Welfare of the Fatherland” finally led to her being arrested. This gave rise Olympe de Gouges being seen as a supporter of the Girondists, who had been excluded from the Convent at the same time (in May/June 1793). In this De Gouges had suggested a referendum on three possible forms of government. “Republican Party government, one and undividable.; Federative government; Monarchy.” What is more, she had publicly defended the king in December 1792, mainly for humanitarian reasons. She wanted to achieve a reformation of society with words, by publishing her writings and through continual appeals for reason and not with violence. As a result she remained a true representative of the enlightenment despite her differences with Rousseau

De Gouges was brought before the revolutionary tribunal. Both events, her paper and her defending the king, were interpreted as propaganda to reinstall the monarchy. Olympe de Gouges was beheaded on 3rd November 1793.



-Stefanie Reutter


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