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Freitag, 15. September 2017

Part 6: Allons Enfants de la Patrie: military women Although the military is traditionally considered a men’s place, and fighting and warfare a male occupation, there have always been women in the military. Of course, there are myths of armed women,...

Part  6: Allons Enfants de la Patrie: military women

Although the military is traditionally considered a men’s place, and fighting and warfare a male occupation, there have always been women in the military. Of course, there are myths of armed women, the Amazons. But the female participation in warfare goes beyond that. Women were involved in several ways, in wartime, many women accompanied soldiers as wifes, sisters and daughters, worked as sutlers, cooks, laundresses or prostitutes. In some cases, warfare was a real “family business”, and wifes would take over their husbands’ arms when they fell. It was only with the emergence of the modern nation state that women were excluded entirely from the military life (until, of course, they were again accepted as soldiers). During the French Revolution, things were complicated. On the one hand, the pre-modern female participation persisted, on the other hand, the government tried to exclude women from the military as much as possible. Additionally, there were women who demanded that the citizens’ right to bear arms and fight the enemies of the revolution should be applied to women, too. Thus, not many women took part in military struggles, but there were women throughout the Revolution and even Napoleonic times. Some were sisters, daughter or wifes of soldiers and accompanied their family in order to be provided for. Some took up arms for reasons of revolutionary conviction, and others participated occasionally in militias and the National Guard. 
Marie-Thérèse Figueur, also “Madame Sans-Gêne” (1774 – 1861), soldier, fought in several battles during the Republic (Toulon) and Napoleonian times. Here is her Wikipedia entry, and here her portrait. 
Marie Charpentier-Haucourt, laundress, one of the “Vainqueurs de la Bastille”.
Marie Chevalier, received a pension by the Constituante for being a “vainqueur de la Bastille”.
Marie-Françoise Willaume, active in the taking of the Bastille.
Marguerite Pinigre-Vener, helped to munition the canon of the National Guard during the taking of the Bastille.
Marie-Jeanne Schellinck (1757 – 1840), was a Belgian soldier who fought in the French Revolution, first disguised as man, but eventually as woman. She was a corporal, later a sergeant and a sub-lieutenant. Here is her Wikipedia entry and here her portrait.  
Anne Quatresols, enlisted in the cavalry at the age of thirteen, distinguished herself by brilliance and obtained a collection in her honour by the Jacobins.
Madeleine Petitjean, mother of 17 children, she disguised as man and fought in the Vendéen army, was captured by royalists but released and obtained a gratification by the Convention. 
Marie-Félicité-Louise Fernig (1770 - 1841), daughter, sister and later wife of a military, she joined the revolutionary army at a young age alongside her sister, disguised as man. They were noticed by Dumouriez and fought in the Battle of Valmy. Involved in Dumouriez’ treachery, the were forbidden to return to France until 1802, but lived in Bruxelles afterwards, were Félicité was married. Her and her sister’s Wikipedia entry is here.
Marie-Françoise-Théophile-Robertine Fernig (1775 - 1819),  daughter and sister of a military, she joined the revolutionary army at a young age alongside her sister, disguised as man. They were noticed by Dumouriez and fought in the Battle of Valmy. Involved in Dumouriez’ treachery, the were forbidden to return to France until 1802, but lived in Bruxelles afterwards, were Théophile died unmarried. Her and her sister’s Wikipedia entry is here
Angélique Drulon, fought as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, was member of the Légion d’honneur
Françoise Rouelle, qui fit partie des engagés volontaires d’août 1792, combattit à Spire, à Mayence, à Landau.
Marie Angélique Duchemin-Brûlon (1772-1859), was the daughter, sister and wife of soldiers in the revolutionary army. When her father and husband fell in 1792, she decided to take up arms. She was soon promoted corporal, later sergent and sous-lieutenant. Due to a severe wound, she had to stop fighting but was admitted to the hôtel des Invalides, where she remained until her death. She was the first woman to be admitted in the hôtel des Invalides and to receive the Croix d’Honneur, by Napoleon III. Here is her Wikipedia entry and here her portrait. 
Manette Dupont, editor of a petition to the Convention that claimed the formation of a defense corps made up of 10000 women, named “Corps Fernig” in honour of the Fernig sisters, and described in detail how this corps would be organised. She was not heard, though.
Rose Bouillon, wife of a soldier, left her home and two children, dressed as man, to enroll as a volunteer soldier for the defense of the Republic alongside her husband. She remains at her post after his death in battle.
Mme Favre, wife of a soldier, joins the army as a food supplier when she learns that her husband’s division lacked nearly everything, but ultimately took up arms. She is nominated vice-captain by the gunners. She was captured by German troops, interrogated for military secrets but said nothing. When the Germans decidec she knew no German they released her. Back in France, she could repeat what she had heard in the ennemy camp.
Mme Communeau, fought the royalist army in the Vendée.
Marthès, conquered an Austrian standard.
Ursule Aby, Lieutenant.
Pélagie Dulière, Sous-lieutenant.
Catherine Pochetat, Sous-lieutenant, a Paris artist who joined the National Guard and took part in the taking of the Bastille and the Tuileries.
Degressain, was mutilated in battle.
Mme Fartier, gunner.
Ledague, young soldier of 20 years, she asked for permission to return to the army after the Convention prohibited military service for women. Her speech before the Convention was applauded and she enrolled as a volunteer in a Paris batallion.

Part  7. La Citoyenne du Monde: women in the provinces, women from abroad

More often than not, the events of and political activism within the French Revolution are focussed on Paris. While France had been in process of centralisation since the emergence of absolutism, and the French Revolution somewhat furthered this process, the revolution was by no means Paris-based only. The french provinces, far from remaining passive or, as during the civil war, rejecting towards the revolution, played their unique role within the events, and faced theor own obstacles (for instance the royalist and girondin gathering in some provinces).
Likewise, the French Revolution became a European event even before the wars: intellectuals of all countries discussed the events, political decisions and ideas coming from France, and a good number of intellectuals travelled to France and took an active part in the turmoil themselves. 
Women were among them all the time. This part presents some of them, both in the french provinces and coming to France from abroad. 
Thérèse Caval, (~1750-11.5.1795), Marseille revolutionary, seen as the driving force behind the hanging of a counter-revolutionary woman, murdered during a royalist massacre. See her Wikipedia entry here.
Élisabeth Taneron, dite la « Fassy », (d. 11.5.1795), Marseille revolutionary, murdered in prison by royalist forces with her three months old infant, friend of La Caval.
Lenormand, from Cany, member of a republican women’s club in 1794 (after the prohibition of political women’s clubs). Speech: “Nous savons qu’il y a des héroïnes qui ont eu l’hon­neur de combattre dans les armées avec nos braves sans-culottes ; imitons leur courage, faisons ce qui dépend de nous pour être utile à la Patrie.” (”We know that there are heroines who had the honor of fighting in the armies with our brave sans-culottes; let’s imitate their courage, let’s do what depends on us to defend the patrie.”)
Mme Yger, from Cany, member of a republican women’s club in 1794 (after the prohibition of political women’s clubs). Speech: “Nous sommes faites pour la liberté, elle nous est naturelle. […] Nous saurons manier avec autant de souplesse la massue d’Hercule que pousser l’aiguille, et conduire nos fuseaux.” (”We [women] are made for liberty, it is natural to us. […] we know how to wield Hercules’ club as skillfully as we know how to wield our needle and our spindle.”)
Leborgne, from Cany, member and president of a republican women’s club in 1794 (after the prohibition of political women’s clubs), made a public speech.
Lalouette, from Cany, member of a republican women’s club in 1794 (after the prohibition of political women’s clubs), made a public speech.
Madame Thiefaine, Valogne (Manche): “[about the 1793 Constitution which she generally approves] But there remains to overcome injustices toward my sex that they [the representatives in the Convention] seem deter for all time from all public administration and forbid it even to express its sentiments on the great interests of the patrie.” (She was by far not the only woman to voice this criticism and demand political and voting rights for women; so did the women’s clubs in Beaumont (Dordogne), Nancy, Le Mans and Besançon.)
Blandin Demoulin, president of the women’s club in Dijon in 1793, 

Anne-Josèphe Thèroigne (1762-1817) was a socialite, singer, orator and organizer in the French Revolution. Here is her Wikipedia entry, and here her portrait. 
Etta Lubina Johanna Palm d'Aelders (April 1743 – 28 March 1799) was a Dutch feminist outspoken during the French Revolution. She gave the address Discourse on the Injustice of the Laws in Favour of Men, at the Expense of Women to the French National Convention on 30 December 1790. Here is her Wikipedia entry. 
Caroline Albertina Michaelis-Schelling, (1763-1809) she was a German intellectual who, as a widow and single mother, moved to revolutionary Mainz, which was under French occupation at that time, where she joined political clubs. After the defeat of the revolutionary forces, she was imprisoned for her political beliefs. She ultimately moved to liberal Jena, where she worked as an author and translator, remaining true to her democratic ideas. Here is her Wikipedia entry.
Helen Maria Williams, (1759-1827) an english author passinate about the French Revolution, sided with the Girondists and was briefly emprisoned durin terreur, but remained a resident in France for most of her life. Her Wikipedia entry is here.
Mary Wollstonecraft, (1757-1797), author, feminist. She went to revolutionary France as a journalist. She sided with the girondists and welcomed the downfall of the Robespierrists. Here is her Wikipedia entry.

Donnerstag, 1. September 2016

Part  5: Sociétés patriotiques et Révolutionnaires: clubbist women

Although clubs had not been very common in pre-revolutionary France, political associations formed and multiplied fast after 1789. They were not only a means to gather in circles with like-minded persons or networking - important for “junior” politicians in the emerging democratic political society. They also served as arenas for debate and the exertion of influence of citizens that were still deprived of institutionalised politics: passive citizens generally, workers - and of course, women. Most political associations were men-only, but the majority of clubs allowed women in the stand, and women took advantage of this (and were noted for their presence in reports and minutes). Only about ten clubs in Paris and about 20 clubs in the provinces were mixed-gender. Women were allowed to be member, to vote and to be elected to certain offices, but never as a president. The best-known and most egalitarian mixed association was the “Société fraternelle des patriotes de l'un et l'autre sexe”, founded in 1790 and dedicated to the (political) education of the people. The fees were really small, and many of the radical democrats attended this association. Although women were not allowed to become president, the club had usually two female and two male secretaries. It is not clear, to what extend the Cordeliers can be seen as a mixed club. Women certainly had no deliberative or voting rights, but several women claimed to be “members”. Apart from that, women began to found their own all-female clubs since 1790, the most famous being the “Société patriotique et de bienfaisance des amies de la vérité”, initiated by Etta Palm in 1791, and the “Société des citoyennes républicaines révolutionnaires”, commonly dubbed “Femmes Républicaines Révolutionnaires”, in 1793. Compared to men’s clubs, there were only few women’s clubs, with relatively few members. However, some of them deployed a vast activity, challenging national politics. The most famous example for that are the Femmes Républicaines Révolutionnaires who, alongside the Enragés (Jacques Roux, Théophlie Leclerc) with whom they were linked, succeeded in pushing through many political claims and were a driving force in the petty bourgeois/sansculotte radicalisation of the Revolution (which is generally often attributed to the Jacobins who were, however, rather moderate themselves). The prohibition of female clubs in autumn 1793 needs to be interpreted in this context, for the struggle between the factions had just begun and the Convention seeked to regain the political control and thus be less vulnerable towards popular uprisings, in which radical women played a crucial role. In 1794, mixed clubs (which were, too, rather popular and more radical then the Convention wished for) were prohibited, too. But it was only in 1795, alongside the ultimate defeat of the Jacobins, that political activities of women were banned generally. 
Note: There were many political clubs in the provinces in which women organised themselves. In this section, these provincial clubbists are ignored. You find them in the section on women outside Paris.

Donnerstag, 18. August 2016

Part 4:  Ça ira: popular women

Finally, a post with more women, but much lesser information of them. This is because many of them are not even known by their real name. Often, these women would occur during an event of the Revolution, or lead a single, isolated protest some time, be noted by police officers who recorded their names, as they understood it upon hearing, and their offense, and then dissappear entirely. Arguably, this was the case for male one-time-rebels, too. Only relatively few sansculotte women and men gained a fame that lasted over several events and years, but even in their case, many would disappear into obscurity after the revolutionary period. Maybe, with the revolutionary government and/or the self-administration of the sections gone, they would loose their benefits granted to them for revolutionary engagement and fall into poverty again. However, in the most cases, we only know the names of these women, and the case in which they became known for something revolutionary (or counter-revolutionary) they were accused of. 
The list, despite its shortness, shows that it was very usual for women to be employed or run an own small business even after marriage. Several of the women were “liberated” from their husbands through death (being a widow was quite a good way of living these days) or separation. Others shared common ideas with their husbands and rather “worked together” in different fields of action, according to their respective social roles. Finally, many women fought together with their sisters and mothers, sometimes fathers, too. Also, female neighbours and friends played an important role in women’s political action. All in all, the women of the people were networkers and often acted in concert, and in the majority of cases they acted not inside the house, but publicly on the streets. The idea of women completely destitute of rights and acting capacity thus is somewhat indifferent towards the nuances of the limitations and liberties of popular women, and applies arguably better to the situation of bourgeois women, who - surprise - were those to criticise the corseted state they lived in, the only criticism of the female condition we have now, for popular women often were illiterate or semi-literate (able to sign with their name and do every-day scribbeling, but little more). 
This part owes much to the really worthy book by Dominique Godineau: Citoyennes Tricoteuses. I have most information from this book. However, it covers only sansculotte women in Paris. The actions of women in the provinces are even less known, and will be treated in a following part. Also, the women which operated mainly as members of political clubs, or which became known predominantly through their membership to clubs, will be presented in a following part.

Part  3: Révolution et Providence: religious women

Again, this is a social group which was generally not very welcoming of the Revolution. Most (catholic) religious convents were very entangled with the Ancien Régime, its abbesses being of noble origin, or the entire convent being donated by nobles. Additionally, there was a big distrust towards the civil order of the clergy among female clerics. Last but not least, in the course of the dissolution of contemplative convents as a result from enlightenment sense of social utility (there was a similar movement in the Josephian countries some years before), only those convents were secure who provided necessary social services, like health care. On the other hand, the revolution saw the emergence of a multitude of civil or semi-civil, anthroposophic religions, in which (urban) women engaged a great deal. However, I could not find individual women I could present here. So, this is again a very short list. 

Part 1 - La République des Lettres: literary and artistic women

This section comprises women who promoted the ideals on the Revolution by the means of letters and art, among others authors, playwrights, journalists, actresses, singers, painters, composers etc. However, many women who worked in the „entertainment business“ such as actresses and singers, were reliant on royal and aristocratic patronage, which meant for many of them not only that the Revolution cut off their professional prospects, but also that they opposed the Revolution altogether. In this diverse list, I present women who used primarily literary or artistic means to express their support for the Revolution. Note, however, that the boundaries between this and other sections may be fluid.

Part 2:  Les Tigresses des Salons: socialite women

Many literature salons were held by noble women, or women who were very closely connected to the Ancien Régime. Apart from that, mostly distinguished guests frequented these circles. Consequently, the salonnières were, either due to their social rank or that of their usual guests, predominantly restraint towards the Revolution, if not counter-revolutionary, and preferred to stay obscure and/or apolitical. The same is true for socialites, concubines and mistresses, who often were salonnières as well, and in any case relied on their aristocratic keepers. Thus, this section is, again, rather short and politically moderate.