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An early modern English educator and writer who is often named the “mother” of feminist thought, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) has been cited also as an early socialist philosopher and as an abolitionist. An independent woman who educated herself among revolutionary intellectuals, she remains most famous for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), whose ideal of the educated woman Jane Roland Martin reclaimed for philosophical study in 1985. Wollstonecraft’s classic treatise concludes with a thought experiment that makes perhaps the earliest argument for government-funded universal day schooling of English children—for which purpose she constructed a normative concept of republican coeducation as a moral antidote to monarchist miseducation, which she theorized from her own direct observations and experiences.

Wollstonecraft’s complete oeuvre became readily accessible for ...

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