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Mary Wollstonecraft

"JUSTICE for one-half of the human race!"
-Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft was born in the 1750's, a major protester for women's rights. She started protesting at an early age because of her father's abuse of her mother and her father's favoritism towards her brother. She also decided early on that she would not simply cook and clean and take care of her husband, the house, and the children. So, at age 19, Mary became a paid companion and, at age 21, stated that she would never marry because marriage gave the husband ownership of all the property, including herself. So she rescued her sister from a miserable marriage and worked seven years as a governess, planning her future.

When she was 28, Mary wrote Maria, her semi-autobiographical novel. Then, she moved to London and worked as an editor and professional writer, and specialized in women and children.

In 1789, the French Revolution began and inspired Mary with an interest in politics. In 1790, she wrote the essay A Vindication of the Rights of Men that focused on the French Revolution's humanitarian ideals. Then, in 1792, she followed it up with a study: A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Also in 1792, Mary's passion for men began to take hold. She fell in love with a married man, Henry Fuseli and then, at age 34, had a relationship with Gilbert Imlay. He claimed that she was his wife to protect her from prison or death, but they were never married. Still, they had a daughter, Fanny, in May 1794. Soon after, he left her and Fanny, and Mary became depressed and attempted suicide twice. Luckily, she didn't succeed.

In 1796, Mary had another relationship, this time with philosopher and novelist William Godwin. In March 1797, they married and had a child together, Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), on August 30, 1797. However, the doctor had to operate on Mary because the placenta wouldn't come out after the birth. Sadly, Mary got an infection, and died on September 10, 1797. That summer, she had been writing The Wrongs of Women: or Maria. After her death, William wrote Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Women in her honor.

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