Course Hero. "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Nov. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Vindication-of-the-Rights-of-Woman/>.
Course Hero. (2017, November 29). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Vindication-of-the-Rights-of-Woman/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Study Guide." November 29, 2017. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Vindication-of-the-Rights-of-Woman/.
Course Hero, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Study Guide," November 29, 2017, accessed January 23, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Vindication-of-the-Rights-of-Woman/.
In late 18th-century Europe and North America, the question of the "rights of man" was a hot topic of debate and discussion. The American Revolution and the French Revolution lifted these topics from the theoretical to the practical and political. Wollstonecraft was the first to apply these ideas to women.
She makes her core argument in this introduction: women's faults are largely a result of poor education. If a woman is given a proper education she could contribute more to her family and to society. As an educator of women and a woman herself, Wollstonecraft felt uniquely positioned to make this argument.
Wollstonecraft does not demand full equal rights for women. For that reason, scholars have debated whether her book is truly feminist. Wollstonecraft's argument focuses primarily on the idea that women can contribute better in their established feminine roles as wives and mothers if society grants them an improved, expanded education.
At the same time, Wollstonecraft clearly rejects some of the predominantly sexist attitudes of her time. At the time all political and religious leaders, scholars, and men with power believed and propagated the myth that women were too emotional and ill-equipped to make logical decisions. She emphasizes women can certainly be quite "rational" and "unaffected" and plans to demonstrate her rationality through the competent use of language and argument in her book.