All Men and Both Sexes: Gender, Politics, and the False Universal in England, 1640-1832

Front Cover
Penn State Press, 2002 - Social Science - 235 pages
0 Reviews

All Men and Both Sexes explores the use of such universal terms as &"people,&" &"man,&" or &"human&" in early modern England, from the civil war through the Enlightenment. Such language falsely implies inclusion of both men and women when actually it excludes women. Recent scholarship has focused on the Rights of Man doctrine from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution as explanation for women&’s exclusion from citizenship. According to Hilda Smith we need to go back further, to the English Revolution and the more grounded (but equally restricted) values tied to the &"free born Englishman.&" Citing educational treatises, advice literature to young people, guild records, popular periodicals, and parliamentary debates, she demonstrates how the &"male maturation process&" came to define the qualities attached to citizenship and responsible adulthood, which in turn became the basis for modern individualism and liberalism. By the eighteenth century a new discourse of sensibility was describing women as dependent beings outside the state, in a separate sphere and in need of protection. This excluded women from reform debates, forcing them to seek not an extension of a democratic franchise but a specific women&’s suffrage focused on gender difference.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Only of free Person Male Maturation and the False Universal
Citizens of the same CityBrethren and Sisters Gender and Early Modern English Guilds
Acting His Own Part Gender the Freeborn Englishman and the Execution of Charles I
Interest of the Softer Sex Commercialism Politics and Gender in the Eighteenth Century
Masculine GenderTaken to Include Females Gender Radical Politics and the Reform Bill of 1832

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 19 - Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is man. Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest; In doubt to deem himself a God, or beast; In doubt his mind or body to prefer; Born but to die, and...
Page 17 - Saturn, arouses his envy and humiliates him with a sense of his own inferiority, he may again find contentment and satisfaction by turning his gaze upon those lower grades which, in the planets Venus and Mercury, are far below the perfection of human...

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

Hilda L. Smith is Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of Reason&’s Disciples: Seventeenth-Century English Feminists (1982) and two edited volumes, Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition (1998) and Women's Social and Political Thought: An Anthology (2000), coedited with Berenice Carroll.

Bibliographic information