Children, I grant, should be innocent; but when the epithet is applied to men, or women, it is but a civil term for weakness.
Every political good carried to the extreme must be productive of evil.
How can a rational being be ennobled by any thing that is not obtained by its own exertions?
I do earnestly wish to see the distinction of sex confounded in society, unless where love animates the behaviour.
I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.
If the abstract rights of man will bear discussion and explanation, those of women, by a parity of reasoning, will not shrink from the same test.
If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?
In every age there has been a stream of popular opinion that has carried all before it, and given a family character, as it were, to the century.
In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason.
Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.
It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should be only organized dust.
It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.
It is time to effect a revolution in female manners – time to restore to them their lost dignity. It is time to separate unchangeable morals from local manners.
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, then by my example, how dangerous is the pursuit of knowledge and how much happier is that man who believes his native town to be the world than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.
Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; – that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.
Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in.
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.
Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished.
Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.
Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable – and life is more than a dream.
Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.
The beginning is always today.
The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason.
The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.
The same energy of character which renders a man a daring villain would have rendered him useful in society, had that society been well organized.
Virtue can only flourish among equals.
What, but the rapacity of the only men who exercised their reason, the priests, secured such vast property to the church, when a man gave his perishable substance to save himself from the dark torments of purgatory.
Why is our fancy to be appalled by terrific perspectives of a hell beyond the grave?
Women are degraded by the propensity to enjoy the present moment, and, at last, despise the freedom which they have not sufficient virtue to struggle to attain.
Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.
Women have seldom sufficient employment to silence their feelings; a round of little cares, or vain pursuits frittering away all strength of mind and organs, they become naturally only objects of sense.
Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.