Friday, March 7, 2008

Was Considerant a Feminist?

He began to deviate slightly from pure Fourierism. He came to realize that nineteenth-century man was not fully prepared intellectually or emotionally for a viable experiment in phalanstery living. First, the nation must be brought to an improved state of social harmony through a system of political democrat and government regulation and control of the economy. Man must be educated and prepared through an evolutionary process. As Considerant became increasingly involved in French politics, he advocated such practical reforms as state welfare programs for the poor, the orphaned, and the aged; government ownership of the means of the means of communications and transportation, particularly the railroads; a state system of long-term, low-interest rate loans; arms reduction; separation of church and state; freedom of the press; free and compulsory public school education; state cultural programs; penal reforms; the unification of Europe; universal suffrage, including women; and female social and economic emancipation. He was the only member of the national assembly in 1848, who demanded that women be given the vote in the new French civilization. Throughout this period he consistently refused to associate with any communal experiment.

Source: Rondel V. Davidson, "Victor Considérant and the Failure of La Réunion," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76 (January 1973).

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