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History 1401E Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Whistle Rymes, Seneca Falls Convention, John Stuart Mill

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Brock Millman
Study Guide

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1. John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (New York: Henry Holt, 1898), 207-45. [first
published: 1869]
He talks about the oppression that women face, and how they should be treated
Focus on the sexual patriarchy- how subordination must be replaced with perfect
equality of the sexes- argument based on the grounds of reason
Women are prevented to do what they want to do; the shouldn’t be forced to only be
a wife
People say that women are constituted to be wives and mothers, but if that’s the
case, we shouldn’t force them to do that by law, if their will is to be a wife or mother,
or whatever, we should allow them the freedom to pursue their own interests
because it will benefit society in the end.
Emphasises that opinions rooted in emotion and feeling become dependable, and
comfortable to those who hold them- order is bred into people and they hold too
much faith in custom and general feeling
The moral and intellectual advancements of humankind that would come from
equality would result in greater happiness for everybody/ inequality is a hindrance to
human development
To Whom?
Mil directs this at British citizens; he wants to educate people on women’s rights and
freedoms; wanted people to break with tradition
He speaks particularly to educated men - his fellow liberals
Who Cares?
For two reasons. One being that people need to know that women are humans too;
they deserve to have rights just like men. They should be able to make their own
decisions without force. The second being that this is how Mill argues when he’s
talking. He will give a statement, and then provides backup support to ensure that
these issues are covered.
Mill, a respected and prolific philosopher, was lending his authority and respectability
to women’s suffrage
Which had been making advancements - ie. Seneca Falls Convention 1864
Part of the path to suffrage and a landmark upon it
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