The Enlightenment Period

Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin

Was Wollstonecraft opposed to marriage?

No. Mary Wollstonecraft believed that marriage should be reformed so that husbands and wives would be true friends. She did not think that the whole of women’s virtue lay in their sexual chastity, but that they should have opportunities to develop their character, just as men did. Turning around the seventeenth-century belief that women were the sexually dangerous and aggressive sex, she wrote that the biggest danger to women’s chastity was the failure of men to consider chastity a serious virtue of their own.


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