Virtue, Liberty, and Toleration: Political Ideas of European Women, 1400-1800 / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


This volume challenges the view that women have not contributed to the historical development of political ideas, and highlights the depth and complexity of women’s political thought in the centuries prior to the French Revolution.

From the late medieval period to the enlightenment, a significant number of European women wrote works dealing with themes of political significance. The essays in this collection examine their writings with particular reference to the ideas of virtue, liberty, and toleration. The figures discussed include Christine de Pizan, Catherine d’Amboise, Isabella d’Este, Elizabeth I, Katherine Chidley, Elizabeth Poole, Margaret Cavendish, Damaris Masham, Mary Astell, Elizabeth Carter, Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Cornélie Wouters. These women actively contributed to the political practice and discourse of their times. Some of the women question their exclusion from political power and argue in favour of women’s virtue, prudence, and capacity to govern. Others aim to demonstrate women’s spiritual equality with men, to defend liberty of conscience, and to highlight the importance of education as a means to moral development. And some women explore the notion of female citizenship or attempt to come to terms with issues of religious freedom and religious toleration.

Virtue, Liberty, and Toleration serves as an introduction to a rich and as yet under-explored period in the history of women’s ideas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402058943
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 7/23/2007
  • Series: New Synthese Historical Library Series , #63
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 0.56 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.- Acknowledgements and Note on the Text.- Notes on Contributors.- Introduction; Jacqueline Broad, Karen Green.- 1. Political Thought as Improvisation: Female Regency and Mariology in Late Medieval French Thought; Earl Jeffrey Richards.- 2. Phronesis Feminised: Prudence from Christine de Pizan to Elizabeth I; Karen Green.- 3. Catherine d’Amboise’s Livre des Prudents et Imprudents: Negotiating Space for Female Voices in Political Discourse; Catherine M. Müller.- 4. “Machiavelli in Skirts” Isabella d’Este and Politics; Carolyn James.- 5. Liberty and the Right of Resistance: Women’s Political Writings of the English Civil War Era; Jacqueline Broad.- 6. Margaret Cavendish and the False Universal; Hilda L. Smith.- 7. The Social and Political Thought of Damaris Cudworth Masham; Regan Penaluna.- 8. “Our Religion and Liberties”: Mary Astell’s Christian Political Polemics; Michal Michelson.- 9. Virtue, God, and Stoicism in the Thought of Elizabeth Carter and Catharine Macaulay; Sarah Hutton.- 10. Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft on the Will; Martina Reuter.- 11. Keeping Ahead of the English? A Defence of Jews by Cornélie Wouters, Baroness of Vasse (1790); Carrie F. Klaus.- Bibliography.- Index.

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