FoL 23.12. Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft believed that, given that nature made men unequal, the purpose of government ought to be the elimination of this inequality. But governments had done the very opposite, in her view. While she did not argue for the elimination of difference, she thought all citizens should be given the opportunity to flourish and excel. Some of her propositions in this regard included land redistribition, the abolishment of primogeniture and the right to the fruit of one’s labour. This made her views compatible with Physiocrats, such as François Quesnay (1694–1774) and Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1787–81). She became a strong critic of the intensification of the division of labour, the luxury economy, commerce, if only for its psychological effects on those engaged in it, and was a passionate opponent of the slave trade. She argued for the education of women and their right to acquire a profession, such that they could maintain themselves independently and never be forced into marriage, especially not for financial reasons.

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