Was Mary Wollstonecraft an Enlightenment thinker?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Wollstonecraft can be seen as an Enlightenment thinker in a couple of ways.  Like many other Enlightenment thinkers, Wollstonecraft used rational analysis and philosophical discourse to remedy what she saw as a problem in society.  This is Enlightenment based because it seeks to use rationality and reason to solve a social ill.  In Wollstonecraft's case, she could not accept the premise of women being inferior to men and felt that it was an embedded part of society that was not rational.  Her progressive attitudes are Enlightenment based as she sought to bring more people into the political and social process of acknowledgment of voice.  This is a reflection of the Enlightenment, which sought to bring more people into the social and political discourse because of the reason and rationality that is within the human being.  Finally, I think that like other Enlightenment thinkers, Wollstonecraft sought to find a group of like minded individuals who would be able to embrace her own views, and from this solidarity a sense of social change would emerge.  Most Enlightenment thinkers found this community upon which they could project their own thoughts before they attempted to do so in a social and wider form.

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