Is there a political theory in Mary Wollstonecraft’s writings? The question is relevant since Wollstonecraft’s main preoccupation was moral rather than political: the duty of every thinking person to strive to make themselves as good as they can be. This is a complex duty, involving independent thought, acting on principles of reason, and making oneself useful to others. The challenge involved in this endeavor is a recurrent theme in most of what she wrote. The idiosyncrasies of Wollstonecraft’s political theory are partially a reaction to republican principles but from within republican commitments. I analyse some of the features that make her republicanism distinctive: the moral ends of government, her suspicion of the republican trope of “the people”, and her conflicted views on revolution. I conclude with her critique of hierarchies of privilege and wealth.
|Research areas and keywords
- History of Ideas
- Mary Wollstonecraft, political theory, political freedom, feminism, republicanism
|Title of host publication||Mary Wollstonecraft in Context|
|Editors||Nancy E. Johnson, Paul Keen|
|Place of Publication||Cambridge|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Jan|
Related research output
, Women and Liberty, 1600-1800: Philosophical Essays.
Broad, J. & Detlefsen, K. (eds.). Oxford University Press
, 19 p.
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Book chapter
View all (3)