The Rights of Women

Olympe de Gouges (1748–1793)

Declaration of the Rights of Woman, 1791

Olympe de Gouges was a French feminist and reformer in the waning years of the Enlightenment who articulated the rights of women with her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791). The law must be the same for all, male and female citizen, being equal in the eyes of the lax, must be equally admitted to all honours, positions, and public employment according to their capacity and without other distinctions besides those of their virtues and talents.

De Gouge describes marriage as an equal partnership in which two partners unite for the goals to start a family; she advocates sharing of wealth and its equal division in the case of divorce. She advocates laws protecting both men and women from violation of the contract. Forming a social contract and sharing equally in the activities of men, De Gouge argues, is “a foolproof way to elevate the soul of women”.

After arguing that all women are oppressed, whether married or not, she asserts that women have the power to free themselves by forming a social contract between man and woman.

Gouges sought freedom for women including the right to vote and to a higher education. This has importance in today’s society, because there is still a problem for women being not treated equally. Could you imagine how important it was for women through the 18th centuries? She created a future society with the same for all, male and female citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law. How would the structure of the society be without her improvements in freedom? Gouge fought until her death with rudeness. The success of the women’s rights movement is evident when we see females like Senator Hillary Clinton and many others running for and holding political offices.

Are the freedoms that female human rights activists fought so hard to obtain now being taken for granted?



Can you turn back a revolution?

In 1791 King Louise XVI and his queen Marie-Antoinette mad an attempt to flee Paris in secret, and to join the Austrian troops. When they only were a couple of kilometres from the Austrian border (they were in a small town called Varennes), where the queens brother waited with an army to help King Louis turn back the revolution and earn back his rights as the one and only ruler of France.


Can you turn back a revolution, and have the people be willing to go back to your side?

-       Maybe the some people are scared of experiencing new things, and are comfortable with living life with someone else deciding what you can or can not do, or maybe people are sick and tired of having someone decide over your life and can’t wait to be yourself.


I think that you can’t turn back a revolution. I believe that when people have tasted the sweetness of democracy, an evil dictator will get his people back.

You can try to do as Kaddafi, threaten and bomb you own country/population (scare them over to his side again). But I think that nobody will want to go back to living a life with no voice in society.


But we don’t know if you can turn back a revolution because nobody has succeeded…yet. The only way we know that King Louis XVI didn’t succeed was because he got caught before he could try. And if Kaddafi will succeed we don’t know.


Do you think you can turn back a revolution?


/ Jerica Wahrén

The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution

The Declaration of Independence marks the official separation between the 13 colonies in North America and the British Empire. It was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, who also came to be the third president of the newly created nation, one year after the start of the American Revolutionary War. If you want to read more on the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution you should check out these couple of links:


Anyhow, why was this independence inevitable for the American colonies? Well, very much has to do with king at the time, George III. America is very far away from Britain, and George wanted firm control over these colonies, some of them newly acquired from France in the aftermath of the French and Indian War. He then established acts, which either taxed the colonists or gave the king more control over the colony trading. He even forced the colonists pay for British military placed in the colonies (the Quartering Act 1765). The colonists did not like this, not one bit. 1776 the Declaration of Independence, was established, after over a decade of this kind of treatment. It wasn’t possible for the colonists to live under this cruel treatment; hence they broke free. In the war following they had great use for the help coming from the French. Why one might ask did the French help push the American Revolution? Well, it is simple, the British were a threat to France, and they did not like each other. The American Revolution succeeded, and the commander-in-chief during the war; George Washington took office April 30, 1789.


I see the Declaration of Independence as one of the most important events in the history of time. The colonization of the world which came to the event has changed the world. What would the world look like without the US? Would the United Kingdom be the greatest power of the world, or would there be a lot of different small former colonies in North America, like in South America or Africa? Think of all the major events during the 19th and 20th centuries, the United States are involved in almost all of them. They played a big part in the world wars, the cold war, they won the space race against the Soviet Union, when Neil Armstrong walked the moon, I could keep doing this all day. Point is; the United States has been involved in everything, everywhere. What do you guys think? How important was the American Revolution for the world we live in today, is it the most important event in the historic time?


By: Andreas Larsson

The Swedish Empire


Nowadays, it is generally known among Swedes and historians that the 17th century was the period when Sweden was at its pride. This is the time period that is commonly recognised as the Great Power Era (Stormaktstiden, 1611-1718). Our country was ruled by well-known kings that today are remembered for their great leadership of what was then recognised as the Swedish Empire. Gustavus Adolphus, Charles X, Charles XI and Charles XII are some familiar kings that were successful during this era.


The Swedish Empire consisted, at its peak, of what today is known as Sweden, Finland and parts of what today is recognised as Russia, northern Germany, northern Poland, Norway, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia. This means that Sweden was the third largest country in Europe by land area, only surpassed by Spain and Russia. Sweden was also the country that was able to mobilise the largest quantity of soldiers compared to the number of inhabitants. Thanks to Swedish provinces, in what today is known as northern Germany and Baltic, and a famous and revolutionary system called the Swedish allotment system (Indelningsverket) Sweden was able to mobilise a total of 76.000 soldiers. No other country in northern Europe during this period was individually able to muster such a strong and numerable army.


Considering these facts, you may wonder, why did the Swedish Empire lose its position among the greatest empires in Europe? Why did Sweden reduce in area? I think that there were many reasons for the twilight of the Swedish Empire, but I think it is easier said than done to identify all of them. Therefore, I will share my point of view on what I think were the major reasons for the abrupt end.


I think that the first reason was that Sweden had to fight on too many frontiers at the same time. The area Sweden had to defend was without doubt very large. It is achievable to protect such a big area if you just have to fight against one foe at the time. Unfortunately, these were not the circumstances Sweden had. Russia, Poland and Denmark, which were the countries that had lost the most provinces to Sweden, decided to make an assault on Sweden at the same time, and it was difficult to muster an army strong enough to fight against three enemies.


This kind of bummer has, both on good and evil, occurred again in the history of man. I think it is possible to draw parallels between Sweden’s situation and Nazi Germany during World War II. Adolf Hitler, who was the leader of Nazi Germany, did the same mistake as the Swedes did. Sweden fought against to many enemies on too many frontlines, and so did the Germans. Even though they had failed to overwhelm Great Britain, their last main opponent in Europe, Hitler decided to commence the assault on the Soviet Union, known as operation Barbarossa. So Germany did the same mistake, since they had created themselves two frontiers in Europe to fight in. And when USA entered the war in 1941, the situation was not likely to improve.


What I distinguish as the second major reason for the defeat of the Swedish Empire is quite classical and has occurred more than once in the history of man. It is the phenomenon where you underestimate the Russians and their fierce and rough motherland. The Swedish king Charles XII attacked Russia during the beginning of the 18th century. At first, the Swedish expeditionary force did well and won the battle of Narva. They continued their campaign and fought their way through the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and were finally beaten at the battle of Poltava. Charles XII and his military commanders did not understand that the Russian weather and country was optimal for defending, but not for attacking. Therefore, Sweden did not stand a chance when they fought in Russia. One major problem for the Swedish army was that it never had a good and equipped truss. Either you have a large army and a substandard truss, or you have a smaller army and a fully equipped truss. I think that this is a huge dilemma because either you battle with a numerous force with low moral because of the bad truss, or you go to war with an army that is equipped but that small force may not be enough to achieve victory. The choice of being tarred and feathered or just tarred (“Pest eller kolera”) is a difficult decision to make.


I think that it is possible to draw parallels to both Napoleon and Hitler who did the same mistake as Charles XII. They also attacked Russia and had extreme difficulties with surviving the Russian weather and country. It is sometimes said that Hitler had the “Napoleon complex”, since he also was a warmonger, wanted to conquer Europe and finally, he also fell for the Russian winter. I think that maybe we can call Charles XII a predecessor of this disease since it is a synonym to power-hungry, which Charles XII, just as many leaders throughout history, was.


As a conclusion, I believe that if Sweden had not fought on too many frontiers and if Charles XII had not made an assault on Russia with his substandard truss, the geography of northern Europe would have been different to what it is today. Nevertheless, this did not happen, and the Swedish Empire, which was born out of a bloodbath, did die in one as well.


According to today’s situation in Sweden and Europe, it would be possible to speculate if the European Union is a result of the 17th-18th century when many countries wanted to establish an empire. Because instead of having many countries that want to create an empire, the EU is a corporation where we instead go together as one united empire, and try to solve the problems of the world. Or what do you think?


For further knowledge and information about the Swedish Empire, check out this page:


//Olof Eriksson IB1

Envar har rätt att allestädes erkännas som person i lagens mening. – FN:s deklaration om de mänskliga rättigheterna



Does every human being have the right to be counted as person and always have the same rights as everybody else? This is something that we as women have fought for for a long time and it all started during the French Revolution when they said that all human beings have the same rights and when the women heard about it they started to require that they should be able to vote and do  things that the men have the right to do. However it wasn’t as easy as it may seem like, because the government hadn’t thought about this when they made the law and then 1798 they took the decision that women didn’t counted as a person. It wasn’t until 1948 all people counted as a person and that was when they wrote this quote you can find in the heading; “Envar har rätt att allestädes erkännas som person i lagens mening” which is in the United Nations declaration about human rights.


I think that we can associate this today about which we think for example should have the right to vote. All people say that it is bad that the women didn’t had the right to vote for a long time when the men could do it, but today we still are mad and think that some people who can vote shouldn’t have the right to do it. For example in some states in the US they think, or I don’t think, that a mass murderer should have the right to help deciding laws that concern criminality. So why do we give them right to vote, and thereby influence the making of laws, when it took so long time for the women to get the right to vote? Or what do you think?


// Alexandra

Simon Bolivar – A man of liberty.

I found Simon Bolivar to be a very interesting man. He made half of South America free from Spanish rule, simply by following his thoughts and with a good strategy. Do you want to know more about his earlier life and birth you got a link here


Simon Bolivar was born in a wealthy family and by that he got a good and a sophisticated education. After school he travelled a lot in Europe. When he was in France and Italy he learned a lot about enlightenments philosophy. He was most engaged with philosophy of Voltaire, Locke and Rousseau. Bolivar was a big fan of the French and the American Revolution and wanted the freedom for his own country some day. While travelling back to Caracas he travelled through the United States, who recently won independence from Great Britain. By that he thought it was time for his own country to be independent from Spain.

He begun his “war” against the Spanish rule with no more number soldiers than then thousands in Caracas and with help from Francisco de Miranda who lead the troops he occupied Caracas. Just to ensure his finance he made a third trip to Europe so he could anticipate in Venezuela’s independence. Unfortunately he lost this battle and the Spanish troops defeated Miranda and his troops. He tried for a few years to occupy Venezuela but could not really defeat the Spanish army. He was hiding from the Spanish troops in New Granada. But after a couple of years he tried once more to occupy Venezuela and this time he succeeded. Spanish Royalists wanted to defeat the man of liberty and with help from people who did not like Bolivar they succeeded and Bolivar had to capture in New Granada.

Bolivar was really smart though. By travelling to Haiti he made some new important friends. Haiti who recently won independence from France had a new government who decided to help Bolivar in his battle against Spain. With help from Haiti he could expend his army with English and Irish Mercenaries and could make a base in New Granada. With this army he got Bogota free from Spain. After this he became president in Colombia and made Venezuela completely free from Spain. A few years later he freed Ecuador from Spain. The last Spanish rule in South America was in Lima and Bolivar marched in with his armies and made Lima free. Bolivar who was president in Colombia insisted to get the liberated countries to be only one country. Bolivar with his strict rules was not a good government leader. He was obsessed with his vision of the united countries which the people started to doubt. The people started to do independence movements against Bolivar, and with in four years they made the united country to four single countries again and Bolivar went back to only be Colombia’s President.

With unsure health he resigned as President for Colombia.

Is there a possibility for someone to change the history in the way that Simon Bolivar did, to get liberty for a country that needs it?

I say there is. I even think that there maybe is a more simple way to do it inn the modern days.

With all the technology we got to day it is easier to for example get finance support from other countries simply by a click. Someone can sit with a phone or with a computer to communicate with others. Still there is a lot to do and off course you need to go out in the world to make a difference. I still do think that there is a way to change a country to the best if the person who wants it do it for the right cause and have the strength and patient to do so. What do you think?

/ Unni

Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges (or Marie Gouze) was born in France the year of 1746. She was a writer, feminist and a political activist. She fought for women’s and slaves and children’s rights. Olympe de Gouges supported the French revolution but was very disappointed when the human rights didn’t include both men and women. Her biggest focus was on the women rights. So, Olympe de Gouges started fighting for women rights in the 18th century, for women and men to be equal, why aren’t we there yet? I think that women could be just as good leaders as men. On a page that I found it says this


“Children have a special close connection with their mothers that can't be matched with the relationship they have with their fathers. It's often said that if women ruled the world, there would be no wars because, as mothers, they couldn't bring themselves to send their sons to war. A world ruled by men seems to have no problem doing so. And now they send their daughters, too”.


So why aren’t there more women leaders, I mean a world without wars wouldn’t that be great!? I think that, again the prejudices play a big part! People think that men are stronger but what are the proofs? I mean both England and Germany have female leaders and both countries are going great.


If you look back in time when we were nomads, all were equal, everyone’s work for the tribe was just as important, and when children were born they belonged to the tribe and not no the parents. Then we became settlers, we started to build our own houses and suddenly we started to get more civilized and the men wanted their sons to become inheritors, so they had to be sure of which son were theirs and there was only one way to know, they had to “isolate” the women. Here is where it all started, when women became inferior to the man. So as you understand we have had this “system” for a while now so it is not strange that it is the way it is in the society today and that we are used to it. The political ideologies and religions etc have supported this. So, what keeps us from having an equal society? Why is it so hard to get there?

// Hedvig

Politics- Natural law


Natural law is based on the moral of a person. Natural law is essential for the democracy and for many politic ideologies. Not even God can change these laws. Natural law was founded in the ancient world, but during the 18th century people started to develop the thoughts from this time. Natural law is the predecessor to human rights.


I think that Natural law is a very good idea! I agree with Aristoteles when he says that it is unnatural that one person takes the liberty to make decisions over all the others in a society, and decide everything on his own. But on the other hand I think that a society without some sort of a leader would be a bit chaotic. I think that Locke (1632-1704) had very good thoughts. He says that every human being has both rights and responsibilities. Everybody has right to freedom, life and property. If somebody insults these rights he should be reproved. If a discussion is developed, it is good to have a leader who can solve the problem in a fair way.

One of the Natural law’s policies is that “contracts should be hold”. I totally agree with this! If you promise something you should stick to it. If you know that you will not be able to make what you have promised you should not promise anything from the beginning.

This is my opinions… What do you think? Are we all born with rights which nothing can change?


/ Hanna

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes was a philosopher and author during the Enlightenment (1588-1679) who had a very cynical look on man. He didn’t believe in the soul or that there is a thing such as good or bad, instead he viewed man as machines who only pursue or avoid different things because of their own “mechanical” desires. He believed that we avoid pain and pursue pleasure mechanically, as an example of our “mechanical” desires.

This may seem like a dull and pointless view on man, but it is in fact very much like what modern science are telling us about how we and our bodies function today.

In Thomas Hobbes’ time, atheism was almost unheard of. To claim that there was nothing like a soul must therefore have been shocking to people who heard his claim of the soul being non-existent. Today, however, with atheism being wide-spread all over the world, countless people no longer believe in such a thing as a soul. Instead, they believe that the brain and body controls everything about us, which is similar to Hobbes’ ideas.

We’ve learned considerably more about our brains and bodies since Hobbes was alive, and I’m sure that if Hobbes was alive today he would be able to prove and back up more of his theories, which he never really did.

Thomas Hobbes may have been wrong about many things, but he sure was onto something. And science can prove that we do pursue pleasure sort of “mechanically”, since pleasure releases for example endorphins in our body, which makes us happy and want to experience more pleasure. Pain, however, is something our bodies do not like, and therefore try to avoid.

However, if you would ask a very religious person today, that person would probably think that Hobbes was wrong about the soul and the existence of good and bad. I, however, have never believed in a soul and therefore consider Hobbes right about this, but someone else may completely disagree. There may not be a clear answer to this until man has been able to prove if God exist or not, and if everything the church and bible tells us is right. If we do discover that God does exist, than Thomas Hobbes was probably right about this. Or God may have created us to operate “mechanically”, or even created us without souls. We may never know for sure.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if a God exists but he created us without souls, so that we will disappear into nothing when we die anyway? Or would it be better if we do have souls but will burn in hell for eternity because of our sins, since everyone are born sinful?


For more information about Thomas Hobbes, see:

Also, Thomas Hobbes is “alive” today in a popular cartoon, Calvin and Hobbes, as the toy tiger Hobbes. Many of Hobbes ideas are reflected in this cartoon. Here is a nice link so some of the comic strips:


By: Lia

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