Quotations – women of the revolution


This selection of French Revolution quotations contains remarks about women in the revolution, from significant leaders, political figures, philosophes and observers. It has been selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. New quotations are regularly added. If you would like to submit a relevant and interesting quotation, please contact Alpha History.

“Let us arm ourselves. Let us show the men that we are not their inferiors in courage or virtue. Let us rise to the level of our destinies and break our chains. It is high time that women emerged from the shameful state of nullity and ignorance, to which the arrogance and injustice of men have so long condemned us.”
Théorigne de Méricourt

“Bread, more bread, and not so many words.”
Paris women heckling the National Assembly

“Women have the right to mount the scaffold, therefore they should also have the right to mount the rostrum.”
Olympe de Gouges

“The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.”
Madame Roland


“Now the rights of men result simply from the fact they are sentient beings, capable of acquiring moral ideas and of reasoning… Women, having the same qualities, must necessarily possess equal rights. Either no individual of the human species has any true rights, or all have the same. And he or she who votes against the rights of another on the basis of religion, colour or sex, has thereby renounced his own.”
Marquis de Condorcet, 1790

“Solemn publicists… have maintained that women enjoy the rights of citizenship like men and should have entry to all public assemblies, even to those that constitute or legislate for the nation. They have claimed that women have the right to speak as much as men. No doubt, and this power has never been denied them. But nature, from which society should not depart except in spite of itself, has prescribed to each sex its respective functions. A household should never remain deserted for a single instant. When the father of a family leaves to defend or lay claim to the rights of property, security, equality, or liberty in a public assembly, the mother of the family, focused on her domestic duties, must make order and cleanliness, ease and peace reign at home.”
Louis-Marie Prudhomme, journalist, 1791

“Civil and political liberty is in a manner of speaking useless to women and in consequence must be foreign to them. Destined to pass all their lives confined under the paternal roof or in the house of their marriage; born to a perpetual dependence from the first moment of their existence until that of their departure, they have only been endowed with private virtues… A woman is only comfortable, is only in her place in her family or in her household. She need only know what her parents or her husband judge appropriate to teach her about everything that takes place outside her home.”
Louis-Marie Prudhomme, journalist, 1791


“In the old days when we spoke out, we were made to shut our mouths and told that we reasoned like women, a bit like animals. Bugger me, it’s all different now! We women have got important since the Revolution. By God, freedom has given us wings! Today we fly like eagles. I may be ignorant and uneducated by I can still hold my own in politics!”
Les Lettres bougrement patriotiques de la Mere Duschesne, 1793

“Peace. Now that he is dead, people will return to my country.”
Charlotte Corday on why she murdered Jean-Paul Marat, 1793

“Marat has been assassinated by a WOMAN, who has since confessed that she thought she had done the best act of her life by ridding the world of such a monster.”
The Times, London, July 1793

“Since when it is permitted to give up one’s sex? Is it to men that nature confided domestic cares? Has she given us breasts to breast-feed our children?”
Pierre Chaumette, Jacobin politician, 1793

“The private functions for which women are destined by their very nature are related to the general order of society. This order results from the differences between man and woman. Each sex is called to the kinds of occupation fitting for it. Its action is restricted within this circle, which it cannot break through, because nature has imposed these limits on man.”
Andre Amar, National Convention deputy, 1793

“Remember the haughty wife of a stupid and treacherous husband [Madame Roland] who believed herself to govern the Republic… Remember the impudent Olympe de Gouges, who abandoned the cares of her household to interfere in Republican affairs, and whose head fell beneath the avenging blade of the law. Is it up to women to present laws? Is it up to women to lead our armies?”
Pierre Chaumette, Jacobin politician, 1794


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