Cultivating Virtue: Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft on Civic Education

Academic Article


  • This essay focuses on the influence of Catharine Macaulay's analysis of sexual difference in the Letters on Education (1790) on Mary Wollstonecraft's argument for the civic education of women in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Macaulay attempts to cultivate the mind of her female reader, Hortensia, by devising a plan for domestic education based on a classical curriculum. Wollstonecraft modifies Macaulay's plan by advocating a national system of day schools in which children of both sexes and from all ranks of society would be taught lessons in civic virtue. A comparative examination of these texts reveals the impact that differences in the gender analyses of eighteenth-century England's most significant women writers had upon the historical discourse on civic education and the struggle for women's rights. © 2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Author List

  • Gunther-Canada W
  • Start Page

  • 47
  • End Page

  • 70
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 3