The Journalist Louise de Kéralio
After living with her parents and then on the current rue Visconti, the woman of letters Louise de Kéralio moved to the rue de Condé. Here, she continued to publish her political newspaper Le Mercure National that she founded and which, very early on, published Republican ideals. It was in her columns where she proposed that all French people use the familiar “tu” form when speaking to one another instead of the more formal “vous” and the designations “Sir” and “Madam” be replaced with “citizen,” a sign of equality and fraternity!
10 rue de Condé
The Odéon neighborhood
The Odéon Theater
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Louise de Kéralio: a revolutionary, but not a feminist!
Louise de Kéralio was also a member of the Fraternal Society of Patriots of Both Sexes, a sort of co-ed political group: rather rare in the 18th century! And when she married the lawyer Robert, she was one of the few people to keep her maiden name, by signing it as “Louise Kéralio-Robert.” And yet, she never imagined real collective emancipation for women: like the majority of her contemporaries, she was persuaded that men were much more capable of governing.
For example, following the Women’s march to Versailles in October 1789, she wrote that women are “more sensitive in every way, excited by their husbands and children’s needs, elated by the cry of love & nature past the limits of their standard courage.” (Journal d’Etat et du citoyen, I, 10, October 8, 1789, p. 176)
In 1790, she went even further and suggested that women needed to stay at home:
“I do not think that women could ever have any active part in government, & I think that the best thing the constitution could do for public propriety would be to remove them from it forever. Women reign in despotic countries, which is to say that they must be bad at governing a free country” (Mercure National 1, II, 1, April 18, 1790, p. 26-27).