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Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism$
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Arianne Chernock

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763110

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763110.001.0001

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Imagining the Female Citizen

Imagining the Female Citizen

(p.106) Chapter Five Imagining the Female Citizen
Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism
Stanford University Press

This chapter addresses what was at stake for the radicals in recommending female citizenship, and also analyzes the various rationales they invoked to turn the prevalent “masculinist” notions of citizenship on their head. Then, the debates leading up to the Reform Act of 1832 are explored. It is suggested that the feminist arguments first advanced by radical reformers of the late eighteenth century helped to launch a serious and sustained dialogue about the sexual qualifications for citizenship in Great Britain. The Anglo-Saxon abbess was a signifier of a vital female political tradition. It is noted that all women aspired to be reformers, and all reformers, in a sense, aspired to be women. The female citizen was not universally dissolved during the last decades of the eighteenth century, but rather, was openly and seriously debated by a vocal minority.

Keywords:   female citizenship, Reform Act, feminist arguments, radical reformers, Great Britain, female citizen

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