The Book of Women’s Rights.





English translation copyrighted 2nd April 2023.





Part A.

THE AUTHOR. What do you conclude, Madam, from the principles and facts which we have established in the two preceding chapters?

THE YOUNG LADY. That the woman being, like the man, a human being, an element of collective destiny, a member of the social body, logic requires that she be considered as his equal before the law. Consequently, she must find in social law and practice respect for her autonomy, the same resources as a man for his intellectual development, the use of his activity, the same protection for his dignity, his morality.

THE AUTHOR. Very good. Let us, therefore, see how our society and our legislation behave in regard to women.
We have many high schools, special schools, and academies. These are national institutions: women, therefore, have a right to them. Now, you know that she cannot present herself there; that even the College of France is forbidden to him.

I know that to justify this denial of justice, it is said that woman does not need a high education to fulfill the functions devolved to her by nature; that having neither the vocation nor the time, it is useless for the doors of the special schools to open before her, etc.

THE YOUNG LADY. We, the younger generation of women, are protesting these allegations in the name of justice, common sense, and facts.

If the woman is ousted from establishments supported by the state budget, let her also be exempted from taxation. I do not see why we would help pay the costs of institutions that we do not benefit from.
If the woman has no vocation, it is useless to close the schools to her, she will not attend them any more than the men who do not go there. If the woman does not have time to attend them, it is obvious that the prohibition is ridiculous: one does not do what one does not have time to do.

But are these allegations in good faith? Certainly not; for to say that the woman, to fulfill her modest functions, has no need to be as educated as the man, is to suppose that she limits herself to those; and we know very well that this is not true. It is then to forget that, destined to exercise over the man husband, and son an influence which directs and transforms them, it is necessary to put the woman in a position to make this influence good and elevated.

Ultimately, moreover, as men do not base their right to participate in the benefits of national education on their vocation and on their time, I do not see that our time and our vocation can be for us the basis of the same right.

THE AUTHOR. And yet, Madam, society takes its side of this denial of justice, and the mass of women declare themselves against those who, of a vigorous temper, protest against this state of things.

THE YOUNG LADY. Our young generation is too impatient of the yoke not to side with you. There are hardly any of us any longer who imagine, like our grandmothers, that woman is more created for a man than he is for her;

That woman is inferior to man and must obey him;

That the woman should not receive the same education as the man;

That a woman cannot have vocations identical to those of a man.

We are beginning to find it very surprising that a bearded prose writer, whose works have not crossed the border, a maker of daily sandwiches, can attach the rosette to their habit, while G. Sand, whose name is universal, can not be decorated;

That a landscape designer can be rewarded with the cross that one would not dream of giving to this admirable woman, Rosa Bonheur, who makes us commune with animals, and, through the eyes, makes us better for all living things.

If a woman obtains a distinction, it is as a nurse...because men do not envy the function of the sister of charity.



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Part B.




THE AUTHOR: Not only does a woman not find access to the establishments of national instruction, but a host of private functions are forbidden to her; men seize those which would suit them best, and often leave them those which would suit men better: it is thus that women carry burdens, while, according to the amusing expression of Fourier, men carry a cup mug with hairy arms.

There is more: if men and women compete for office, the man is better remunerated than the woman for the same work; and society finds that quite simple and very just.

Fair enough to pay the midwife less than the midwife.

The teacher than teacher,

The female professor than her male competitor,

Then an accountant then an accountant,

The clerk that clerk,

The cook than the cook, etc., etc.

This depreciation of women's work means that, in the professions they exercise, they only earn, most often by exhausting themselves, enough to slowly die of hunger.

Why, I ask you, with equality of function and work, pay less to women than to men?

Why reward her, as they do, against all equity, for the work she does alone?

THE YOUNG WOMAN. You know, Madam, that, to justify this, it is claimed that we have fewer needs than man; then the balance is restored in the household by the higher gain of the latter.

THE AUTHOR. I know those pretexts invented to put the conscience to sleep; but you, a woman of the new generation, do you accept them?

THE YOUNG LADY. No: because the woman, having to be the equal of the man in everything, must be it in the industrial law as in the others.

First, it is not true that we have fewer needs than man: we resign ourselves better to privations, that is all.

It is also not true that, in general, the balance in the household is re-established: for that it would be necessary that all women were married: now, we marry less and less, so there are many daughters, many widows with children; an innumerable crowd of women married to men who divide their earnings between two households or dissipate them in cabaret, gambling, etc.

Whence it follows that a girl, a widow, a woman abandoned by her husband is paid less, because in the household, which then does not exist, the balance is restored. Oh! great common sense!

THE AUTHOR. And as the mediocrity of our needs and the magnificent equilibrium of which we speak exist only in the imagination, the real woman, finding that hunger and privations are inconvenient guests, sells herself to the man and hastens to live, because she knows that, old, she would not have enough to eat. And the balance is restored by the demoralization of both sexes, the desolation of families, the ruin of fortunes, and the withering of the present and future generations.

THE YOUNG LADY. In truth, Madame, although the Middle Ages were well shaped by doctrines contrary to the dignity of women, the feudal barons were less opposed to them than the sons of their emancipated serfs: If I remember correctly, several women have worn the doctor's cap in those ancient times, and occupied, especially in Italy, chairs of Philosophy, Law, Mathematics, and excited admiration and enthusiasm. If I still remember correctly, several women were made doctors of medicine, and it was most of the time the chatelaines who practiced the art of healing around them; many of them knew how to prepare balms.

Today one of the functions, above all, that we do not entrust to our sex is the practice of medicine. It seems to me, however, that a society that values ​​modesty should not hesitate to entrust its exercise to women who have the ability. That man are treated by men is understandable; but for a woman to confide the secrets of her temperament to a man, for this man, this stranger, to lay his eyes and his hand on her body, it is shameless, it is a disgrace!

THE AUTHOR. Is it not the fault of men who persuade women that their sex, not having any aptitude for science, it would not be safe for them to put themselves in the hands of a doctor of their sex? Isn't it the men's fault for requiring their wives to be assisted by a midwife instead of a midwife?

What is curious is that honest women are less hesitant to allow themselves to be visited and touched by a doctor than those said to be unchaste... concern is not forbidden to honest women... Let us bow, then, Madame, before the honorable confidence and the charming character of gentlemen husbands whose wives have frequent vapors, and more or less uterine affections.

THE YOUNG LADY. One sentiment of Mr. E. Legouvé struck me: is the confidence he expresses in our perspicacity and our delicacy for the treatment of nervous affections if we were called to practice medicine.

THE AUTHOR. He has the intuition of truth; if man, in general, understands muscle and bone better, we understand nerve and life better.

The woman doctor generally has an element of diagnosis that the man lacks: it is a disposition to feel the state of his patient: that is why neuroses will only be prevented and really cured when women get involved scientifically. Let us add that it will be only then that the children will be suitably treated in their illnesses because the woman has an intuition of the state of the child; she loves him, puts herself in communion with him; having to be a mother, she is organized to be with the child in a much more intimate relationship than the man.

THE YOUNG LADY. First, what you are saying seems true to me.

THE AUTHOR. In the same way, Madame, that one can only practice justice by feeling the others in oneself, one cannot believe it, practice Medicine successfully, except by feeling those whom one treats: science is nothing without this communion: one must Love one's fellow human beings in order to be able to cure them because the therapeutic resources vary according to the individual state of the subjects. Therefore, just as Love alone cannot suffice, science alone is not enough, since it is necessary, in order to heal, that, in its generality, it be individualized; which can only be done by intuition, daughter of benevolence and nervous delicacy.

But let's leave this subject, which would take us too far, and let's repeat that the cultivated woman, left free in the manifestation of her genius, is destined to transform Medicine like everything else, by putting her own stamp on it.

Now let us recap, Madam. We have just seen that our sex can only exceptionally find in the employment of its activity the means of satisfying its needs, the means of remaining moral. , treated as a serf, he is not only forbidden several careers but also, when he meets in competition with the others, he is generally less well paid than the latter. In such a way that the woman considered weaker, is obliged to work harder, in order not to earn more.

What do you think of our reason and fairness?


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Part C.




THE AUTHOR. Our ideal of Right being Liberty in equality presupposes the unity of Moral law and equal protection for all.

THE YOUNG LADY. Indeed, in a society, there can no more be two Morals than two kinds of fundamental Rights, when equality is at the base.

THE AUTHOR. Our morals and our legislation do not have your brutal logic, Madame.

There are two Morales: one undemanding, easy; it is that of man. The other severe, difficult; is that of the woman. Rational it always is, has laid a heavy burden on the shoulders of the being deemed weak, and inconsistent, and placed a light burden on those of the strong, no doubt because he is deemed the wise, the brave: isn't that fair?

THE YOUNG LADY. On the contrary, it seems to me very unfair and very unreasonable.

If the woman is weak, and imperfect and the man strong and reasonable, less should be demanded of the former than of the latter. To claim that woman can and must be superior to man in morality is to admit that she possesses more than he does the faculties which elevate our species above the others: it is therefore a contradiction.

The moral sense gives the power to govern oneself with a view to an ideal of perfection, if the woman possesses it more than the man, what becomes of the excellence of the latter who admits not being able to conquer his brutal instincts?

THE AUTHOR. You are too curious, Madame; the Society contradicts itself, but does not explain itself; she is not at all a philosopher. She decided that the excellence of the man does not oblige him to overcome all the passions which harm others, but only those which have for point of sight the coin. If he steals your watch or your handkerchief, he is a rogue worthy of prison; but if he robs you of your joy, by seducing your daughter, if he throws her into a path of disorder and shame, and exposes you to death of pain, he is a charming boy. Would you have taken it into your head that your daughter's morality, honor, and future were as valuable as your watch or your handkerchief?

In a fault against what is called chastity, moral unity, and logic require that there be two culprits, and equity pronounces that the provocateur is more culpable than the provoked. Our model society claims that there is only one culprit, the weak, the credulous, and the provoked; the other is a delicious conqueror to whom all mothers smile.

This, of course, the Code declares that a girl of fifteen is solely responsible for what is called her honor.

He does not punish the seducer; therefore, he does not recognize him as guilty.

If we kidnap a minor, if we rape her, if we corrupt her on behalf of others, we are punished, in truth, but in a very insufficient way.

If a poor child of sixteen or seventeen becomes pregnant, the seducer almost always abandons her. What is left for the imprudent? a broken life, eternal widowhood, a child to raise. If, in order to appease her furious father, she shows him letters that prove the paternity of the wretch, the commitment he has made to recognize the child and to provide in part for her needs, a promise of a marriage perhaps, the father repeats these harsh words of the law:

Any promise of marriage is void.

Any natural child remains dependent on the mother.

The search for paternity is prohibited.

So then, Gentlemen, do not hesitate, seduce the girls by promising them marriage, sign this promise with your finest initials; be, in fact, fathers of several children and leave to the daughters, who earn so little, the burden of raising them; you have nothing to fear. The woman is condemned by law and public opinion to bear the burden of her faults and yours; for it is a creature both very weak and very strong: weak so that it can be oppressed, strong, stronger than you, so that it can be condemned: it has the fate of all victims.

THE YOUNG LADY. To these criticisms, I have often heard the reply: Let mothers keep their daughters! And I said: keeping daughters is easy for the privileged; but can the workers keep theirs who go to an apprenticeship at eleven or twelve? Can they accompany them in their workshops, when they go to try or postpone work? If we agree that girls need to be guarded and that there is only an imperceptible minority of mothers who can exercise this supervision, the social duty is to make laws to protect all.

THE AUTHOR. Perfectly seasoned, Madame; but to transform the law, it is necessary to work to transform opinion. You see that women accept both Morales; that they do not feel shame mounting in their foreheads that their sex is sacrificed to the disgusting lubricity of the other. Far from it, these thoughtless slaves throw stones at the poor seduced, and abandoned girl, while opening their double doors to the suborner. They do more, they entrust their daughter's future to him under cover of the municipal sash. They despise the Lorette and the border of the brothel, but they welcome those whose vices, selfishness, and money maintain these two wounds. They do not feel that to receive Lorette at home, knowing it, a man who has seduced and abandoned a girl, a man who maintains a Lorette, or a man who frequents infamous places, is to become complicit in their acts and the degradation, oppression of their own sex.

THE YOUNG LADY. Ah! Good god, if we followed your principles, how few men we would have to admit into our society?

THE AUTHOR. Be consistent, Madame; if you do not think you are allowed to receive a prostitute, you cannot logically allow yourself to receive the prostitute who pays her. Men would be more chaste, if honest women were more severe and brought up their sons in chastity, instead of repeating like cruel idiots: I let my cock go, hide your hens. It is necessary that young people throw away the strangles of the heart. Which, translated into good French, means: my son has the right to take your daughters, and to treat the sex to which I belong like a sewer, or like a toy that is broken without scruple.

THE YOUNG LADY. You will recognize, I hope, that we, women of the younger generation, are less inconsistent than our mothers since we do not admit two Morals, but only one.

THE AUTHOR. Yes, you are more logical, but you lack the ideal; and, instead of purifying Morality and subjecting both sexes to it, like rebellious slaves, you submit yourselves to the lax Morality or rather to the immorality of the other sex. You forget that freedom must produce the fruits of salvation and not decay. You understand equality like the Romans of decadence, in a vice.

Poor children, is it really your fault? Could the law which abandons your chastity to the passions of man give you great esteem for this virtue? Should you not believe, on the contrary, that what is licit for man, peccadillo for him, is so for you; instead of thinking that what is not permitted to you is not permitted to him either?

Ah! you are always the slaves of man, you who submit yourselves to his Moral law instead of raising it to yours!

Stop then, seeing the bitter fruits of such an error. Look everywhere adultery, prostitution in all its forms, the abandonment of thousands of children, infanticide in all its degrees, corruption taking place in broad daylight at the gates of certain factories, the registration of sixteen-year-old girls in the great army of prostitution, a crowd of men, low enough to play the part of kept men, and Love fleeing from the earth to give way to bestial, unbridled passion, which devours souls and bodies: this is what you accepted by accepting masculine immorality!

Yes, there is only one Morality, but it is not the hideous thing that brings about these dreadful results. So do not debase yourself by taking men for models.

THE YOUNG LADY. How can one escape the degradation of morals and the law to give man the right of the lord? If, on the other hand, we are forced to live out the passions of man, because we cannot be self-sufficient through our work? If finally, our restless activity does not find employment, because man, seizing everything, condemns us to misery and idleness?

THE AUTHOR. It is to get out of this situation that you must vigorously and constantly claim your rights; resolutely seize, when possible, disputed situations; to have an initiative, instead of thinking, as you do, of adorning yourself and exploiting the man.

Do you believe then that those who have conquered their rights have done so through laziness, futility, or vice? Certainly not; but by work, constancy, courage; counting on them and not on others.



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Part D.





What if, by your work, you contribute like a man to the production of national wealth;

Finally if, by your interests and your affections, general questions are just as important to you as to man,

However, you have no political rights: people seem to believe that general affairs do not concern you.

THE YOUNG LADY. I have heard it said that, in matters of general interest, man has a double representation.

THE AUTHOR. He represents the woman as the monarch his subjects, the master his slaves.

If the man can represent his wife and himself, he cannot represent adult girls and widows; why do these not represent themselves as unmarried men?

THE YOUNG LADY. It has often been asserted before me that woman is enclosed in too narrow a circle of ideas, as a result of her habitual occupations, to be able to furnish an intelligent vote.

THE AUTHOR. Didn't you have to answer that the workers, locked up in the minimum details of their trade, could not rise better than the women to the comprehension of the general questions?

That not all voters are philosophers?

That, by the grace of the beard, our peasants, our miners, our weavers, our stone-breakers, our sweepers, our ragpickers, do not have, on a fixed day, the intuition of the needs of the country?

That women, at the present time, are not less or worse concerned with politics than men, that they discuss it with them, and often have a great influence on the vote of their husbands?

THE AUTHOR. We have established that the Law being absolutely equal for both sexes, the political Right belongs in principle to the woman, like any other Right.

Now you know, Madame, that if you contribute like a man to public charges;

That if you are half in the reproduction and preservation of citizens;

Finally, since political rights are recognized in man, independently of his degree of intelligence and education, of the nature of his occupations, and the state of his health, you do not understand why would these things be taken into account when it comes to the political rights of women.

Couldn't you have added: it is rather singular that so many imbeciles go to vote, while intelligent women, even famous, are repelled from the ballot box.

It is presumptuous enough on the part of men to suppose that women artists, merchants, and teachers, are politically less capable than sewer cleaners, water carriers, charcoal burners, and sweepers.

Any major French woman has the right to claim her 36 millionth share of the general vote: she is a political servant, as long as she is stripped of them, because she is subject to laws that she did not contribute to making, and pays taxes which it did not help to fix.

THE YOUNG LADY. I have nothing to say to that, except that I do not feel inclined to claim my political right. This claim would leave me cold, while that of Civil Law finds me ready to support it warmly. 


THE AUTHOR. You don't surprise me, Madame; the road of humanity is divided by stages; you feel, without realizing it, that it cannot supply two at the same time. You are ready for civil law, the enjoyment and practice of which will mature you for political law.

It is in the practice of Humanity, that the adults of the species only recognize Rights to minors, apart from the simplest natural rights, only when these claim them until the revolt: the adults in this n only fault are to wait too long, and not to work to mature their juniors for the practice of law. But in principle, whenever the exercise of a law would be serious at least general, it is good to grant it only to those who claim it, because when they do not do it, it is because they do not feel the importance of it, and there would be to fear that unless they misuse it.

But when this Right is claimed, when its deprivation leads to pain and disorder, it must be recognized, under pain of oppression, of denial of Justice.

Now, the deprivation of civil law is for women a source of pain, misfortune, corruption, and humiliation; the claim of this Right arises, and they are ripe to obtain it: it would therefore be a denial of justice to refuse to recognize it.

It is not the same for political rights: they neither desire it nor demand it.

Remember, Madame, that in every subject there is theory and practice. One is the absolute, the ideal that one sets out to achieve, the other is the extent to which it is wise and prudent to introduce the ideal into a given environment.

Thus, by absolute right, we are in everything the equals of men; but if we claimed to realize this absolute in our present environment, far from advancing, there would be retreat and anarchy: Law would devour Law. Common sense dictates that a reform be applied only to elements prepared to submit to it.



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Part E.






THE AUTHOR. The principle laid down by the new ideal is that all members of society are able to run for public office. Let us compare this principle to the decisions of French law.

The woman is declared incapable of performing any public function.

He is forbidden to be a witness in acts of civil status, in wills, and any other act received by a public official.

With the exception of the mother and ascendants, she is excluded from guardianship and from the family council.

By a magnificent inconsistency, these laws govern the country where the highest office, the Regency, can fall to a woman.

Note, Madame, that if we are incapable from so many points of view, we suddenly become very capable when it comes to answering for our actions to the criminal and the correctional; very believable, when it is a question of sending, by our testimony, a man to the galleys or to death; very capable, very responsible in the transactions we make and sign as adult daughters or widows.

People who have given themselves the difficult task of gilding us with this bitter pill which is called the Civil Code, tell us: but, ladies, the legislator knew that being mothers and housewives, you could not fulfill public functions: You yourselves will agree that a pregnant or nursing woman, a woman retained by the care of the interior, can be neither minister, nor juror, nor deputy, nor..... etc.

THE YOUNG LADY. But, gentlemen, we will answer them, women are not constantly pregnant, perpetually nursing, since many have no children, remain girls, and do not concern themselves with internal care any more than you do.

The age when you enter public functions is that when our maternal functions are fulfilled, we have only to be prodigiously bored if our fortune allows us leisure.

THE AUTHOR. These gentlemen claim that motherhood has taken us too long for us to have been able to cultivate the faculties necessary for public functions: they also claim that this motherhood stops the growth of our high faculties.

THE YOUNG LADY. To this, we will answer them that Love and licentiousness cause them to waste much more time than motherhood does to us, and quite otherwise arrest the development of their high faculties.

What! Girls, widows, and women of forty must not be able to fill any public office, because the majority of women are occupied from twenty to thirty-five years of renewing the population! In fact, it's fun!

Men agree that only a small number of them hold public office; then, when it is a question of women, it immediately seems that all claim to fill them and that there is not one who is not prevented from doing so by maternity and marriage.

It is said that the French people are witty, that, born malignant, they invented Vaudeville; I do not contradict it; but would I be indiscreet to find out if he invented common sense and logic?

Ah! Let these unfortunate interpreters of the Code be silent; we don't need their glosses so that the authors of their laws have the opposite of our Love.


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Part F.





THE AUTHOR. Let us see how society, which must ensure that each of its members does not alienate his person, his freedom, or his dignity, fulfills this duty towards the married woman.

We know that the adult daughter and the widow are capable of all acts of property; that they are free, and owe obedience only to the law.

Does the woman marry? Everything changes: she is no longer properly a free woman, she is a servant.

The law, by declaring that she follows the condition of her husband, that is to say, that she is deemed to be of the same nation as him, denationalizes the French woman who marries a foreigner.

Article 213 obliges women to obey.

Article 214 enjoins her to follow her husband wherever he sees fit to reside.

Several other articles rule that the wife cannot plead without the authorization of the husband, even when she is a merchant, and whatever the form of her contract;

That, even separated from a property and not common, she may neither alienate, nor mortgage, nor acquire gratuitously or against payment without the consent of the husband in the deed or in writing;

That she can neither give nor receive interviews, without said consent.

In all these cases, if the husband refuses to authorize, the wife can have recourse to the president.

THE YOUNG LADY. And if the husband is interdicted, absent, subject to an afflictive or infamous sentence, if he is a minor and his wife is an adult?

THE AUTHOR. So, the woman is authorized by the president.

THE YOUNG LADY. But the woman is therefore in guardianship when she is married; can she escape the husband's tutelage only to fall under that of the tribunal? Isn't it for the French woman the restricted restoration of Roman law?

To cease being of one's country, to absorb oneself body and goods into a man, to obey and follow like a dog! And that in a country where the woman works, earns, administers, is daily called upon to defend her interests and those of her children, often against her husband! But this is revolting, Madam.

THE AUTHOR. I will never see you revolted enough by it.

THE YOUNG WOMAN. Suppose the girl's parents consented to marry her only on the condition that she would not leave the country; suppose again that it is established by those skilled in the art that the country where the husband wants to take her will compromise her health, will perhaps kill her, the wife, in these cases, would she not be exempted from following her husband?

THE AUTHOR. Certainly not: on the one hand, valid agreements cannot be made against the law; on the other hand, this same law places no restriction on the wife's obligation to follow the husband.

THE YOUNG LADY. So, a husband would be villainous enough to want to kill his wife when she gave him a child, and keep his dowry by guardianship, he could do so without running any risk by choosing the climate well. And if she took refuge with the mother who carried her in her womb, the husband would have the right to come and snatch her from her arms?

THE AUTHOR. He could even avoid this trouble by sending the gendarmerie to fetch his wife. Everyone would condemn this man; the public conscience would rise... But the law delivered the victim to him, it can do nothing against him.

THE YOUNG LADY. Ah! I am no longer surprised that there are so many young girls today who shrink from marriage! Myself, if I had known these laws, it is certain that I would not have married. Fortunately, men are generally better than laws.

THE AUTHOR. Why should you be surprised at the work of the legislator, Madam, he only applied in all its details the doctrine of the apostle Paul. If you have received the blessing of a Christian pastor, to whatever sect he belongs, he has reminded you that the wife must be subject to her husband like the Church to Jesus Christ.

THE YOUNG LADY. But Saint Paul does not forbid me to receive anything from a friend, nor to make an annuity to my old governess who cannot wait for my will.

THE AUTHOR. Hey! Who can assure the legislator that you are not capable of receiving..... from a friend? The woman, descendant of Eve, is she not, according to the picturesque expression of holy authors, a nest of filthy spirits, the gate of hell, a being so corrupted that even the kiss of a mother is not pure? Consequently, should it not be held in perpetual suspicion?

THE YOUNG LADY. These are infamous words. Thus, the law would only continue the tradition of the Middle Ages, and its article 934 would only be the expression of the contempt attached by men to the forehead of their mothers!

Ah! That Madame, can we not, by a contract, escape from the legal provisions which lower our dignity or reduce us to bondage?


THE AUTHOR. You cannot: the law would nullify this contract. You have two options: don't get married, or get married under a regime that leaves you as independent as possible, until we have had the law reformed.

Voluntary union, not sanctioned by society, offers such inconveniences for the happiness and the interest of children and of the wife, that I would not dare to advise it to anyone. It, therefore, remains to speak of the choice of the regime under which one must marry.



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Part G.


(Continued from the previous one.)






THE AUTHOR. One can make a marriage contract under one of these four regimes: Community, Total, Without separation of property, and Separation of property.

Follow with the greatest attention the summary that I am going to give you of each of them.

Under the Community regime, the husband alone administers the common property.

These assets consist of movables, even of that which falls by succession or donation, unless the donor has expressed a contrary will;

Second: of all fruits, interests of whatever nature;

Third: of all real estate acquired during the marriage.

The husband can sell, alienate, and mortgage all these things, without the concurrence of the wife; he even has the option of disposing of household effects by gift.

He still administers the woman's personal property and can, with her consent, alienate her real property.

Does the woman have a previous debt without an authentic title or a certain date? It is not out of the property of the community that this debt is paid, but out of the property proper to the woman; if this debt comes from an immovable estate, the collection is only pursued on the immovables of the estate; if the debt is that of the husband, one can address the property of the community.

Fines incurred by the husband may be sued against community property; those of the woman are only on the bare ownership of her personal property.

All the acts done by the man engage the community, but those of the woman, even authorized by justice, do not engage the common goods, if it is not for the trade which she exercises with the authorization of the husband.

Finally, in the absence of the husband, when it is not known whether he is alive or dead, the wife can neither bind herself nor engage the common property.

This, Madame, is the common law of France, the regime under which one is deemed to be married when one has not made a contract.

THE YOUNG LADY. I see that under your common law of France, a woman is a nullity, an exploited, a pariah;

That her husband can donate the common furniture to his mistress and put the wife out of business;

That the husband can take off his spare clothes, his jewels, to adorn his mistress with them;

And as they order her obedience, and put her under the power of the man who can be brutal, she will not dare to refuse the commitment, the alienation, the sale of her personal property, and thus expose her and her children to lack of everything.

And as the woman is not the nullity that the law supposes; that on the contrary, she works and increases the common asset; that it is often to her that he is owed, the husband can dispose of the fruit of this work to pay his debts, his fines, maintain the women and indulge in all sorts of disorders.

Among the people, there is hardly any contract: therefore a brutal husband and bad subject can sell the small household and the modest ornaments of the wife, as many times as she will have been able to obtain new ones by her personal labor..

THE AUTHOR. I do not deny it; but could it not be said that the legislator could not suppose a husband capable of abusing his legal power?

THE YOUNG LADY. We cannot allow such a pitiful reason.

The laws are made to prevent evil: they, therefore, suppose the possibility of committing it: one would not do it for saints.


When a law authorizes tyranny, and the exploitation of the weak, it is a detestable law; for it demoralizes the strong, by exposing it to becoming despotic and cruel; it demoralizes the weak, by forcing them into hypocrisy, by depriving them of the feeling of his worth and by breaking in him every spring.

It extinguishes in both of them the notion of right and of the correlation of right and duty in the relations between similar.

THE AUTHOR. You're absolutely right.

To finish what we have to say about the regime of the community, let us add that it is permissible for the woman to stipulate in her contract that in the event of the dissolution of the community, she will be able to take back not only her own reserved property but also all or part of those that she pooled, after deducting her personal debts.

When this stipulation does not exist in the contract, the woman, at the time of the dissolution of the community, has the right to renounce it, and, if she has imprudently accepted it, she is only bound to pay the debts up to 'up to the portion of the property that she would derive from it.



THE YOUNG LADY. This glimmer of justice is only an illusion since, in the event of debts made by the husband, the wife can lose all or part of what would be due to her; since, on the other hand, she can lose her personal assets by signing the alienation of her property to help her husband.

Let us renounce this regime, Madame; in the community between husband and wife, as the law understands it, the woman is delivered bound hand and foot to the man, whoever he may be. Let's get married without a community.

THE AUTHOR. Let us agree: if the contract provides that the spouses marry without community, here is what takes place.

The husband alone administers the movable and immovable property of his wife, absolutely as under the regime of the community;

Income from these assets is allocated to household expenses;

The buildings of the woman can be alienated with the authorization of the husband or of justice, as under the mode of the community.

The only compensation is that the woman can decide that she will be able, on her receipts alone, to receive a certain portion of her income annually for her personal needs.

If she does not participate in the debts, she does not participate in the gains which her income may have enabled her husband to realize. With this income, he can get rich and make a separate fortune, to which his wife will never have any rights. Agree that it is paying a little dearly for the advantage of having some sum of your own, and of not humbling yourself to stretch out your hand to the holder of your fortune, as one is obliged to do under the regime of the community. where the woman can lack everything in the midst of a fortune that is her own.

THE YOUNG LADY. This diet is worthless. Let's move on to the separation of property. Isn't it better?

THE AUTHOR. In effect;, under this regime, the woman alone administers her movable and immovable property, disposes of her income, unless otherwise stipulated, and gives a third of it to support the expenses of the household.

But she can neither alienate nor mortgage her buildings without the authorization of her husband or of the courts.

If, on the other hand, it is the husband who administers her property, which it would be very difficult to prevent, when he so wishes, he is accountable to her only for the present fruits.

THE YOUNG LADY. Is the total regime better for us than that of separation of property?

THE AUTHOR. You will judge for yourself.

When one declares, and it must be declared, that one marries under the total regime, there is no total except the property declared as such; the others are said to be paraphernal or extra-total.

In principle, and unless otherwise agreed, the total property is inalienable; the husband alone administers them, and, as in the contract without community, the wife can receive certain sums on her own receipts.

The paraphernal goods are, as in the contract under the regime of separation of goods, administered by the wife, who alone receives the income, and they can be alienated with the authorization of the husband or of the court.

If the husband administers these assets on a power of attorney from his wife, he is bound towards her like any other mandatory;

If he administers without a mandate and without opposition, he is bound to represent, when required, only the existing fruits;

If he administers, despite the opposition of the wife, he must account for all the fruits since the time of his usurped management.

The spouses can stipulate a partnership of acquests, that is to say, an association for things acquired during the duration of the marriage. I don't need to tell you that this community is administered by the husband alone.

THE YOUNG LADY. But to get married under the regime of separation of property or under the total regime, don't you need buildings?

THE AUTHOR. No; the total property and the separate property may be money.

THE YOUNG LADY. Women, treated as serfs under the communist regime, are treated as minors under the total regime with paraphernalia and under that separation of property.

For bad laws produce bad morals.

THE YOUNG LADY. What you say there is very true: out of twenty households, there is sometimes not one where you do not hear the woman say: Ah! if I had known!

If we were married less young and we knew the law, marriages would certainly become fewer and fewer.

To finish with this review of the law, one more question, Madam. Does the wife's contribution not mortgage the husband's property?

THE AUTHOR. On what goods will the working woman take back her sold household?

On what property will the wives of merchants whose dowry was used to pay the husband's fund, will they take back this dowry in the event of bad business?

Ask legally separated women the value of this mortgage, or rather this provision of the law: they will tell you a lot!

THE YOUNG LADY. I have known wives of bankrupt merchants: they complain that the law treats them more rigorously than others.

THE AUTHOR. marriage given what it is, the legislator has done well to prevent it from becoming a league against the interest of all.

THE YOUNG LADY. Until the law governing the marriage contract is reformed, under which of these two regimes: total or that of separation of property, do you advise women to marry?

THE AUTHOR. If the spouses are not in business and the wife contributes considerable property, the best thing perhaps would be for her to marry under the total regime with authorization to receive a large annual sum; if the parents knew him to be firm, they could also constitute paraphernalia for him and always stipulate a partnership of acquests.

In any other situation, I advise women to marry under the regime of separation of property. The wife, mistress of her funds, can entrust them to her husband and associate with him as with any other. I knew a young tradeswoman who went about it this way: she built up her contribution in money as her own property, then, when she was married, she lent this sum to her husband, who committed himself to pay so much interest. As she also had a job in the house, she received commensurate emoluments.

THE YOUNG LADY. But if the woman is a worker?

THE AUTHOR. There is no difference. It is almost always the woman who does the light housework, and she values ​​it more because it has cost her many days and nights of work; it is therefore very important that the husband cannot sell it or give it away; how important it is that he cannot compel her to give him the money she has entrusted frankly to the savings bank. She must therefore not marry, as she does, without a contract; for she would be at the mercy of her spouse, being deemed married under the regime of the community.

Notaries allow themselves to resist when they declare that they wish to marry under any other regime than that of the community: they do not have the right to do so; you can force them; officers of the law, they are not there to criticize it.

Ladies, rich and poor, it is in your interest and that of your children to know the business; to remain masters of your possessions: your dignity demands it. Your duty is to instruct your daughters in the situation that the law places them in marriage so that they avoid their ruin, and that they work for the reform which must put the woman in the place that she has the right. to occupy.

If a husband were reasonable enough to blush at the thought of branding his mate with the stigma of servitude, couldn't there be other stipulations?

THE AUTHOR. The man cannot rehabilitate his companion; the law forbids it by article 1,388, which declares that the spouses cannot derogate from the rights resulting from marital power over the person of the wife and children, or which belong to the husband as the head.

Also, a notary who would draft the following contract:

Art. 1st. Spouses recognize equal dignity because they are human creatures in the same way.

Art. 2. They mutually recognize the same rights over the children who will be born to them and, in their disputes, will take arbiters.

Art. 3. Each of the spouses reserves a part of his property which he will dispose of without the authorization of the other;

Art. 4. The spouses put together such a determined share of their contribution to support the expenses of the household, to provide for the education of the children, and for the necessities of joint work;

Art. 5. This common property cannot be pledged without the consent of the spouses;

Art. 6. Convinced in their soul and conscience that one cannot alienate his person, his dignity, his free will, the spouses do not recognize any power over each other; they entrust the duration and the respect of the bond which unites them to the affection which alone can legitimize it.

A notary, I say, who would have drawn up this contract, would be stripped of his office, then entrusted to the alienists, and the contract would be null and void as contrary to law, good morals, and public order.

Do you understand, Madam, why women, much more intelligent and independent than before, marry much less?

Do you understand why the daughters of the people, who have so often seen their mothers unhappy and stripped of their poor possessions, care much less about getting married?

Women are blamed!... It is the law that must be blamed and reformed.


English translation copyrighted 2nd April 2023.


Sexy lingerie for hot girls and horny women along with lusty ladies and raunchy females


The Third Chapter continued>




English translation copyrighted 2nd April 2023.


The Book of Women’s Rights 3. 1860.