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Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

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Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer and philosopher, and one of the earliest feminist writers. Her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is one of the most important documents in the history of women's rights.

Selected Mary Wollstonecraft Quotations

• I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.

• Contending for the rights of women, my main argument is built on this simple principle, that if she be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its influence on general practice.

• Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; — that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.

• The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.

• If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?

• Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in. In every age there has been a stream of popular opinion that has carried all before it, and given a family character, as it were, to the century. It may then fairly be inferred, that, till society be differently constituted, much cannot be expected from education.

• Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.

• Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.

• No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

• It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should be only organized dust -- ready to fly abroad the moment the spring snaps, or the spark goes out, which kept it together. Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable -- and life is more than a dream.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/wollstonecraft.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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