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Olympe De Gouges
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Advocate
    (May 7, 1748-November 3, 1793)
    Born in Montauban, France
    Birth name was Marie Gouze
    Playwright and political activist
    Feminist and abolitionist
    Wrote the plays 'Zamore and Mirza' (1784) and 'The Black Market' (1790)
    Wrote 'Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen' (1791)
    Guillotined during the Reign of Terror for 'seditious behavior'
    She was a social climber.
    She claimed to be the out of wedlock daughter of the Marquis de Pompignan, since it was a step up socially from being the legit daughter of a butcher.
    She was financially supported by rich men that she slept with.
    Her spelling, punctuation and grammar were lousy.
    She tried to avoid, or at least delay, her execution by falsely claiming to be pregnant. (An examination by doctors and midwives showed she was lying.)
    She advocated abolishing slavery.
    She demanded that French women be given the same rights as men.
    She wrote, 'Woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum.'
    She criticized extremists on both sides of the French Revolution. (Unfortunately for her, one batch of extremists ended up running the country.)
    A witness to her execution wrote, 'She approached the scaffold with a calm and serene expression on her face, and forced the guillotine's furies, which had driven her to this place of torture, to admit that such courage and beauty had never been seen before.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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