Quotation by Frances Wright

... until women assume the place in society which good sense and good feeling alike assign to them, human improvement must advance but feebly. It is in vain that we would circumscribe the power of one half of our race, and that half by far the most important and influential. If they exert it not for good, they will for evil; if they advance not knowledge, they will perpetuate ignorance. Let women stand where they may in the scale of improvement, their position decides that of the race. Are they cultivated?—so is society polished and enlightened. Are they ignorant?—so is it gross and insipid. Are they wise?—so is the human condition prosperous. Are they foolish? So is it unstable and unpromising. Are they free?—so is the human character elevated. Are they enslaved?—so is the whole race degraded.... Man will ever rise or fall to the level of the other sex ...
Frances Wright (1795–1852), Scottish feminist, author, editor, and lecturer; relocated to the United States. As quoted in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, part 2, by Miriam Schnier (1972).

From an 1829 speech.
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