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Olympe de Gouges

(Marie Gouze)
feminist, writer
Born: 1745?
Birthplace: Montauban, Languedoc, France

De Gouges was an ardent advocate of many human rights, especially equality for women, at a time when those beliefs were considered radical. She wrote dozens of pamphlets during the French Revolution, calling for slave emancipation, rights for single mothers and orphans, and free speech for women. In 1791 she wrote the inflammatory Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Citizen, which declared that women and men are equal and thus women should be afforded the same rights as men. Her manifesto directly challenged the National Assembly's Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which outlined the “inalienable rights” of men and later served as the preamble to France's constitution. She was arrested and guillotined in 1793 for speaking out in support of King Louis XVI.

Died: 1793

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