The Vote -- not very good example (try education)
Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on April 20, 1998 at 22:34:23:
In response to Arguing over semantics : ), written by Carolyn B on April 20, 1998 at 19:37:22
] For example, Did JA want women to have the right to vote? (Someone here can probably tell us if her views on such matters survive.) Plenty of women opposed women's suffrage in the 19th C. Yet someone labelled as a "feminist" would generally be assumed to support such an issue.
Carolyn -- the question of women voting was barely even in consideration in Jane Austen's time (except among a very few advanced speculative thinkers), since only a small minority of adult males had the vote in England then. Not that the vote was consistently restricted by class -- more like according to accidents of history (whether your town had been prominent enough in the middle ages or Tudor times to get parliamentary seats for itself), and peculiarities of local town charters etc. The U.S. didn't have the irrational tangle of British electoral politics, but it was still only after the Jacksonian period (when all adult male U.S. citizens had the vote), a generation after Jane Austen's death, that the question of women voting began to be raised, and not until after the civil war that there was really serious agitation (Montana Territory gave women the right to vote in Territoial elections in 1869, I believe -- one a few territories and states that did so before women got the nationally-guaranteed
right to vote in 1920.)
So what I'm saying, is that I think that asking whether Jane Austen would have supported giving women the vote is almost meaningless, since wouldn't have seemed to be much of a real question or issue in the social environment in which Jane Austen lived (as opposed to abstract radical speculation).
What might be more meaningful is to ask what Jane Austen thought about the necessity and nature of educatioon for women -- a kind of quasi-feminist issue which was important at the time, and which was more directly relevant to the lives of Jane Austen and the women aound her, and something that Jane Austen's opinions about can be deduced from statements in her writings...
- This is (in an oblique way, perhaps) my point ; -) Carolyn B 21:44:14 4/21/98 (0)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.