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Women in the French Revolution

            The women of Paris, France had traditionally been much involved in street politics, especially if the issue centered on their future well being. These active women in Paris expressed their opinions and focused their energies through petitions, demonstrations, and later, physical acts of revolution. The Revolution sharpened the political activity of Parisian women. Olwen Hufton's essay Counter Revolutionary Women best expresses the different opinions, actions, and ideologies the counter revolutionary women had during the French Revolution. .
             The women gave whatever they had to the spirit of the revolutionary times; taking personal issues as well as the same issues their husbands took on. For this reason, a woman's social class usually determined which issues she chose to embrace and fight for. The status of women did undergo significant instability in the years between 1789 and 1804, and at one point they made great strides in that women had obtained the legal right to marry without parental consent, initiate divorce, name the father of an illegitimate child and secure monetary compensation for the seduction, and own property. .
             In Counter Revolutionary Women, Olwen H. Hufton expresses her intention to show that women's responses to their various situations during the revolution "transformed and modified the entire history of the period 1789-1815." In order to demonstrate her point, Hufton evaluates the Paris "engendered crowd" and their interest in popular sovereignty, as well as the gender difficulties of the revolutionary reform policies. Most of all, however, the women wanted to be heard; they saw their opening created by the convocation of the Estates General and hoped to make their own claims for inclusion in the promised reforms. .
             The complexity of women's roles in the French Revolution is demonstrated in their actions as bread rioters, members of political clubs, defenders of religious traditions and members of political and religious clubs.

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