Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Arnold, Stanley

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of History


In today’s world of strong feminist awareness, it is useful to look back on the history of this movement. When shallowly scraping the surface of history, the French Revolution presents itself as a period of rising feminine consciousness. However, trying to apply this description to three of the leading women of the era proves problematic. Olympe de Gouges, Madame Roland, and Madame de Staël—each a great woman in their own right—exemplify the inconsistencies and ambiguities of “feminism” in the upper echelons of French society. Individually, these women embodied a boldness and progressiveness that would be applauded today, yet they would contradict themselves on other stages. Circumstances such as this draw attention to the fact that the rise of women’s power and women’s rights has not been a continuous increase, but a jagged line prone to setback and discrepancies.


28 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type