Women in Eighteenth-Century British Politics

  • Anna Clark


In recent years, the traditional view that women were excluded from politics in the late eighteenth century has been challenged.1 Amanda Vickery, Amanda Foreman and Linda Colley have shown women advancing into the public sphere, attending the theatre, canvassing for elections, making patriotic speeches, and establishing charitable institutions. They explain away admonitions to women to stay out of politics as reactionary grumbling at the unstoppable progress of women in public.2 However, it is important to differentiate between women’s public presence in public places and their power to change events, between women’s authority, influence, and rights, and between feminine images and women’s activities. Furthermore, it is impossible to claim that ‘women’ advanced in the public, because aristocratic, middle-class, and plebeian women participated in politics in entirely different ways.


Eighteenth Century Public Sphere French Revolution Woman Writer Feminist Idea 
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© Anna Clark 2005

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  • Anna Clark

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