Class 9 History

Women and French Revolution

In spite of revolution, women did not get the right to vote and their position in the society remained unchanged. To get their notable position in society, about 60 women clubs were started in different cities in France.

The Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women was the most famous among them. Their main demands were to enjoy the same political rights as men. The constitution of 1791 made them disappointed as they were pushed to the category of passive citizen in that.

Women Education

Most of the women were deprived of education. Daughters of nobles or wealthier persons of third estate could study in convent. After that they were married by their families even against their will.

Women who belonged to third estate had to work hard. They sold flowers, fruits, vegetables and employed as servant in house hold. After work they had to cook and look after for their families. During the Reign of Terror women's clubs were closed and many women were put in jail.

In due course of time, revolutionary government came and introduced laws to improve the lives of women. For example, many state schools were created, schooling was made compulsory for all girls, marriage against the will of girl was prohibited, divorce was made legal and could be applied for by both women and men, they could train for jobs, could run businesses, become artists. But to get the voting rights women had to struggle for about next two hundred years in many countries including France. Finally, women got right to vote in the year of 1946 in France.

The Abolition of Slavery

People are forced to work and sold and bought as property, in the system of slavery. The slave trade started in seventeenth century. French merchants bought slave mainly from Africa. The slaves were branded (with red hot iron) and shackled by the merchant. After that the slaved were tightly packed into ships and sent on a three-month long voyage across Atlantic to the Caribbean. The slaves worked for plantation owners so that demand of sugar, coffee and indigo in European market could be fulfilled. Many port cities like Bordeaux and Nantes got economic prosperity by the trade of slaves.

However, the slavery began to be criticized in France. But even National Assembly could not pass any law to end of slavery in the fear of repercussion from businessmen who were mainly in slave trade.

By coming in power, Jacobins abolished the system of slavery in the French colonies, which was one of the greatest social reforms in their reign. But slavery was reintroduced by Napoleon. Finally, slavery was abolished in French colonies in 1848.


The French Revolution is a watershed development in the modern history. French Revolution not only had a long lasting impact on the French society but also on the whole world. The modern ideas of popular democracy had its roots in France. Similarly, the idea of nation states (as we know them) began with French Revolution. The national movements in various colonies were greatly influenced by the developments in French Revolution.