As an independent, self-taught woman who, espousing the enlightenment ideal of reason, declared that women's rational natures are no less capable of intellectual achievement than are those of men.
Here are some quotes from her works for you to enjoy:
If the abstract rights of man will bear discussion and explanation, those of women, by a parity of reasoning, will not shrink from the same test.
Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.
It may then fairly be inferred, that, till society be differently constituted, much cannot be expected from education.
The beginning is always today.
Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.
The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason.
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.
Women are degraded by the propensity to enjoy the present moment, and, at last, despise the freedom which they have not sufficient virtue to struggle to attain.
If women be educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?
I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.
Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable - and life is more than a dream.
In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason.
Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.
How can a rational being be ennobled by any thing that is not obtained by its own exertions?
I do earnestly wish to see the distinction of sex confounded in society, unless where love animates the behaviour.
The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.
Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; - that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.
Of women I do not wish them to have power over men but over themselves.