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Abstract

The article titled, Insurrectionary Heroines: The Possibilities and Limits of Women’s Radical Action During the French Revolution, gathers research materials from multiple primary and secondary sources to generate an analysis of women’s participation in the French Revolution. The focus of this analysis draws on how these women confronted the Early Modern European female status quo through the use of radical action during the Revolution, which ultimately led to the creation of new possibilities for women's participation in society and revealed the limitations of this new found participation. Radical action is defined by four major events in the article: the female March on Versailles in 1789, the manifestation of bread riots in 1795, the formation of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women in 1793, and the writing of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman by Olympe de Gouges in 1791. By analyzing these four events, women's involvement in the French Revolution becomes a large-scale and dynamic process that requires the reader to rethink how they originally viewed women during this time period and how they view the development of revolution. These women formulated massive populous bodies that confronted the French monarchy and asserted themselves as politically significant, rioted ferociously in the face of military oppression, formulated an extremely radical organization that called for the total engagement of women in politics and wrote a document that directly challenged the status quo of patriarchal society. While engaging is such behavior, these women also experienced certain limitations that affected the outcome of their radical actions such as, being dependent upon external factors to ensure political success. Ultimately, despite the raising of limitations, these women risked their lives in their radical efforts during the French Revolution, and in doing so raised new possibilities for women throughout history and new possibilities in revolution.

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