Women on Liberty in Early Modern England

Philosophy Compass 9 (2):112-122 (2014)
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Our modern ideals about liberty were forged in the great political and philosophical debates of the 17th and 18th centuries, but we seldom hear about women's contributions to those debates. This paper examines the ideas of early modern English women – namely Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell, Mary Overton, ‘Eugenia’, Sarah Chapone and the civil war women petitioners – with respect to the classic political concepts of negative, positive and republican liberty. The author suggests that these writers' woman-centred concerns provide a unique historical perspective on these much-discussed ideals of freedom from external interference, freedom as self-determination and freedom from domination.
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Archival date: 2015-09-22
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