Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros12-3Women, Economics and HistoryWriting Women Back into the Histo...

Women, Economics and History

Writing Women Back into the History of French Economic Thought: The Case of Flora Tristan, Julie-Victoire Daubié and Clémence Royer

Réinscrire les femmes dans l’histoire de la pensée économique française : le cas de Flora Tristan, Julie-Victoire Daubié et Clémence Royer
Hélène Périvier et Rebecca Rogers
p. 443-482


Depuis la publication en 1973 du livre de Dorothy Thomson Adam Smith’s Daughters, la littérature sur la contribution des femmes à la pensée économique a augmenté de façon exponentielle. Malgré ces publications récentes, les spécificités du contexte français et la contribution historique des femmes à la pensée économique française ont été rarement étudiées. L’objectif de cet article est d’analyser les contributions de Flora Tristan, Julie-Victoire Daubié et Clémence Royer aux débats économiques dans la France du dix-neuvième siècle. Ces trois études de cas éclairent les raisons de l’oubli des femmes dans l’histoire de la pensée économique. Dans la lignée des publications précédentes sur le sujet, nous explorons la frontière définissant les sciences économiques dans le contexte français du dix-neuvième siècle. Nous proposons des explications pour l’exclusion des femmes du champ des sciences économiques.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

  • 1 The Handbook of the History of Economic Thought, Insights on the Founders of Modern Economics, edit (...)
  • 2 Mark Blaug mentions Harriett Martineau and Janet Marcet in footnotes in his book, Economic History (...)

1The canonical books on the history of economic thought rarely mention women’s writings at least before the twentieth century.1 As Michèle Pujol (1998) has noted, when women are quoted, it is mainly in the odd example or footnote.2 The invisibility of women’s contribution, qualified as the “malestream in economics” by Pujol, raises epistemological issues about what constitutes economics. Based on male social and professional experiences, economists have underestimated women’s economic contributions (Seiz, 2003). The erasure of women’s and feminist voices in the neoclassical paradigm has introduced major androcentric biases in the discipline (Pujol, 1995). Male economists have paid little attention to women, or they have adopted an anti-feminist gaze; as a result, feminist economic writings by both women and men analyzing gender inequalities have been often “forgotten”. Furthermore, ignoring the economic writings of women has led to misrepresentations of the historical context in which knowledge is produced and to misattribution of discoveries in economics (Dimand et al., 1995). For instance, the “crowding effect” hypothesis to explain the gender pay gap (women were crowded into a small number of occupations, resulting in lower wages) is usually credited to Edgeworth (1922) even though women, such as Millicent Fawcett (1918), Barbara Bodichon (1859) and Harriet Taylor (1851) had developed this theory earlier (Madden, 1972; Seiz, 2004).

2Since the publication in 1973 of Dorothy Thomson’s seminal book Adam Smith’s Daughters, the literature on women’s contribution to the economic thought of their time has grown exponentially (Dimand et al., 1995; Polkinghorn and Thomson, 1998). Initiatives at the international level to shed light on female participation to economic debates have flourished. Up to the early twenty-first century, these publications mainly focused on the UK and the US (Ferber, 1997). Since then, the scope has been enlarged to many countries, and several collective handbooks and dictionaries have been published to list and identify women’s writings in the history of economic thought with a global perspective (Dimand et al., 2000; Madden, Seiz and Pujol, 2004; Madden and Dimand, 2018). One key challenge in this rediscovery is that women’s historical contributions to economic thought is often hidden by a rigid definition of the discipline. The historiographic process that brings women into the picture recognizes the epistemological value of writings beyond the male-authored academy. Dimand et al. (2000) argue that individuals whose writings were considered in the field of economics at their time should be considered economists, while those who were primarily social activists should be excluded. Even though the nature of these new boundaries of the discipline is not fully explored, this growing literature shows that women were legitimate contributors to economics (Madden and Dimand, 2019).

  • 3 The fourth woman quoted is Mary Meynieu Coates (1798-1876).

3Despite these recent publications, the specificities of the French context and the historical contributions of female thinkers to French economic thought have rarely been studied. For instance, The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought edited by Kirsten Madden and Robert W. Dimand in 2018 covers many countries (the US, India, Latin America, Japan, China, Africa, the Arab world, and some European countries such as Italy, Austria, the UK, Russia, and the Soviet Union), but not France. Nevertheless, a few publications (dictionaries and bibliographies) with a global perspective do mention some French female economists in the history of thought. (Madden et al., 2004) The bibliographical Dictionary of Women Economists lists 480 female economists, with a short notice that describe their contributions and the historical context within which they evolved (Dimand et al., 2000). This dictionary includes four French women, three of them are the object of this article: Flora Tristan (1803-1844), Julie-Victoire Daubié (1824-1874), Clémence Royer (1830-1902).3

4The aim of this paper is to complete this growing literature by precisely analyzing the contribution of Tristan, Daubié and Royer to economic debates in the nineteenth century. These three case studies offer insight into the neglect of female thinkers in the history of economic thought. In line with previous publications, we explore the border of the definition of economics for the nineteenth-century French context.

5The article begins by presenting these three women’s contribution to economic thought through an examination of their major publications. Our analysis prolongs a considerable body of scholarship by women’s and gender historians, who have explored their contribution, but mainly in the perspective of the history of feminist thought. Our focus approach here is to highlight their intellectual positioning within the political and economic debates that dominated at the time. Tristan’s writings contributed to early socialist critiques of capitalism; Daubié’s writings analyzed the status of poor women within liberal and socialist economic journals during the Second Empire. Royer participated actively in economic debates of the second half of the century, following her acclaimed essay on taxation, Théorie de l’impôt, ou La dîme sociale in 1862. All three wrote also extensively about issues that were the object of intellectual debate within economic circles, and they interacted with male figures recognized as economists. The paper positions Tristan, Daubié and Royer within the social, political, and economic debates of their time, emphasizing their original contributions to the fields in economics.

6The choice of these three women allows us to explore fifty years of economic debates from a variety of perspectives. Between the 1840s and the 1890s, socialist thinkers as well as liberal political economists created journals and societies that promoted their economic analyses of an industrializing French society. Women contributed to these debates notably through their publications, given their exclusion from male learned societies or from the ranks of the University. By analyzing them within the context of their time, we position ourselves in a dynamic field that studies the history of social scientific thought through the study of the actors, publications, networks that contributed to its emergence (Topolov, 1999; Périvier and Rogers, 2019). Their contemporary notoriety is analyzed by drawing attention to the intellectual networks within which they operated and the reception of their contribution by their peers. Finally, in the concluding section we draw some hypothesis to explain their exclusion from the history of economic thought before the recent feminist literature that has shed light on the contribution of women in economics.

1. Tristan’s Conception of a Worker’s Union

7Of the three women, Flora Tristan (1803-1844) is the figure who has generated the most academic scholarship, most prominently amongst feminist scholars (Grogan, 1992; 1998; Agulhon and Michaud, 1994; Cross, 2020). The illegitimate daughter of a Spanish-Peruvian aristocrat and a French émigrée to Spain, her marriage to the lithograph André Chazal ended quickly in a separation that left her with three children and financial needs that sparked the beginning of her travelling career. Initially she found paid work as a ladies’ companion, and then travelled to Peru in a failed attempt to recover her paternal inheritance. Her own experiences as a paria explain her identification with women of all classes and migrants and this influenced the nature of her further travels to London in the late 1820s and 1830s, as well as around France. As a single woman with limited resources, she was very aware of the cost of economic independence (Puech, 1925a). Her writings combined travel commentary with social analysis, and while she paid particular attention to women, they were not the exclusive focus of her social commentary. Her best-known published works include Pérégrinations d’une paria (1838), Promenades dans Londres (two editions in 1840 and 1842) and Union Ouvrière (three editions between 1843 and 1844), published shortly before her death (see the appendix for Tristan’s publication). The diary she kept during her travels in France were only published in 1973 under the title Le Tour de France. État actuel de la classe ouvrière sous l’aspect moral, intellectuel, matériel. Her text L’émancipation de la femme ou Le Testament de la paria was published posthumously in 1846. She is now recognized as a precursor to both feminist and socialist thought, with her theory linking women’s inequality to economic forces. Our interest is in situating her economic analyses and her vision of a worker’s union within the context of early socialist critiques of capitalism.

1.1 Paria or Precursor among Early Socialist Thinkers?

  • 4 Most of the early socialists rejected the Catholic church but developed arguments about solidarity (...)

8Flora Tristan’s contribution to economic thought and the debate on labor and the social question in the nineteenth century occurred during a period of intense social turmoil in France. This turmoil spawned a range of socialist responses in France around such figures as Charles Fourier (1772-1837), Saint-Simon (1770-1825) and his followers Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and Prosper Enfantin (1796-1854), Étienne Cabet (1799-1856) or Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865). In this flourishing era for socialist ideas, Flora developed an original economic analysis of the capitalist and industrial society of her time. Her analysis of oppression and domination was nourished by her own experiences in France and abroad, notably in Peru and England. Her unconventional life contributed to her pioneering internationalist perspective. Like other early socialists,4 her writings were marked by a sort of mysticism using the figure of Jesus or God to promote the values of solidarity:

Il faut suivre l’exemple donné par les premiers apôtres du Christ. Ces hommes bravant la persécution er les fatigues prenaient une besace et un bâton et s’en allaient de pays en pays prêchant la NOUVELLE LOI : la fraternité en Dieu, l’union en Dieu. (Tristan, Union ouvrière, 1st edition, 1843, 9)

9Tristan’s dissection of urban life has been described as a form of ethnographic activism that drew attention to the plight of prostitutes, working-class children, prisoners, and the working class in general (Bédarida, 1978). But she anchored her ethnography in a conceptual framework that emphasized the workings of industrial capitalism with its division of labor and its consequences on “man’s intelligence [which] reduces him to the function of a mere cog in the machine” (cited in Cross and Gray, 1992, 62). Promenades dans Londres also drew attention to the British Chartist movement, which she saw as a form of worker’s organization that would allow them to throw off the yoke of the aristocracy.

  • 5 This was ultimately published in 1973 by the Editions Tête de Feuilles in 1973 in a collection “Arc (...)

10Tristan’s socialism seemed less “utopian” than many of her male counterparts. Not only did she adopt a rigorous underpinning to her vision through the observation of the living conditions of workers, but in her last book Union ouvrière, she describes an organization and a system of solidarity within the working class to improve its living standard (see below). The union she envisioned offered a space for workers to express themselves and to listen to each other. This constituted the necessary first step to raise awareness among workers and to encourage them to constitute a social class regardless of their profession, sex, or nationality. With this objective in mind, she began a Tour de France in 1844 to disseminate her ideas among the working class. While campaigning for the creation of a workers’ union she kept a diary that contained notes for a publication entitled Tour de France.5 Evidence of her success in empowering the (male) working classes to speak can be found in the numerous letters they wrote her (Agulhon and Michaud, 1994; Tristan, 2003). In the preface of Union ouvrière, she described having received 87 letters from male workers, and only 3 by female workers:

Toutes ces lettres, sauf quelques-unes, sont rédigées dans le même esprit et experimentent le même sentiment […] Toutes témoignent le désir ardent qu’ils ont de s’unir. (Tristan, 1844, 2nd edition, preface, VIII)

11But she also recognized that workers did not fully understand the purpose of the book:

Maintenant il faut bien dire tout la vérité: –les hautes et importantes questions d’économie sociale, traitées dans le livre de l’UNION OUVRIÈRE n’ont pas été comprises par les ouvriers (exceptés quelques-uns). (Tristan, 1844, 2nd edition, preface, VIII)

12Tristan’s tour de France was intended to clarify her project through direct contact with workers “qui ne savent pas lire et à ceux qui n’ont pas le temps de lire (Tristan, 1844, 2nd edition, preface, VIII).

1.2 An International Quest for Class and Sex Equality

13Flora Tristan’s writings reflect an awareness of how economic processes had created conditions that called into existence a working class; her activism led to call for a form of union that spoke to revolutionaries and reformers of the period. Her initial analysis of the living conditions of the working class in England argued that these were worse than those of slaves in the French Antilles, suggesting that capitalism introduced a new form of slavery.

Loin de moi la pensée sacrilège de vouloir défendre aucune sorte d’esclavage ! Je veux seulement prouver, par ce fait, que la loi anglaise est plus dure pour le prolétaire que le bon plaisir du maître français à l’égard de son nègre. L’esclave de la propriété anglaise a, pour gagner son pain et payer les taxes qu’on lui impose, une tâche infiniment plus lourde. (Tristan, 1840, 104)

14She criticized the division of labor within factories that lead to a new form of subjection for workers, and reduced their ability to reason:

La division du travail poussé à l’extrême limite, et qui a fait faire des progrès si immenses à la fabrication, a annihilé l’intelligence pour réduire l’homme à n’être qu’un engrenage de machines. (Tristan, 1840, 104)

15She did not call free trade into question; on the contrary, she showed that England failed to respect its principles. By imposing customs duty on some foreign goods, the English created unfavorable trade conditions for goods produced abroad while exporting their own production freely. Tristan denounced a situation that was unfavorable for the English working class and middle class who suffered from the high prices of foreign goods. For Tristan, free trade not only improved the living condition of the working class, but it was also an efficient way to develop business and wealth:

La classe moyenne est aussi intéressée que les ouvriers à ce que la vente des marchandises anglaises ne soit pas restreinte à l’étranger par l’obstacle qu’oppose l’exagération des droits à la vente en Angleterre des produits agricoles de l’étranger ; car de même que, par l’adoption réciproque d’une unité pour le droit de douane imposé sur toutes choses, l’ouvrier obtiendrait les subsistances au plus bas prix possible et les salaires les plus élevés, de même, par l’effet de cette réciprocité, les affaires commerciales recevraient le plus grand développement possible. (Tristan, 1840, 36)

  • 6 Tristan died before the establishment of national workshops during the 1848 revolution that sought (...)
  • 7 Tristan spoke directly to the industrial and artisanal working classes of her period, but her visio (...)

16In her 1843 manifesto, Union ouvrière, published five years before the Communist Manifesto, Tristan moved from an analysis of British society to a broader proposal to organize French society. Her arguments developed those of Saint-Simon and other contemporaries who analyzed the emerging industrial society in terms of social classes. After the 1789 revolution, the bourgeoisie succeeded in constituting a class per se in terms of national representation. This recognition enabled them to fight for their own rights against the “class of nobles”. This dominant position was reinforced with the revolution of 1830. Tristan’s concern to “constitute the working class” (chapter 2 out of 4) deployed a political approach in her analysis of workers’ condition and solutions to improve their situation. She emphasized workers’ isolation and their division in small associations that were incapable of changing existing power relations or of improving the situation of the poorest part of the population. The emancipation of the working class could only be realized by the working class itself through a transcendental force, and to do so the working class needed a universal and strong organization with an international perspective. The principle of liberty should not obscure the realities of workers’ living conditions. While praising the individual rights stated in the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen of 1791, she pointedly noted that human rights have no value if workers did not have the means to live. As workers had nothing but their arms (no property, no capital, no rent), the right to live was necessarily associated with the right to work for a living (Union ouvrière, 1843, 23).6 To defy the bourgeoisie, she called for the constitution of a social class uniting all workers to claim rights and change worker’s daily life.7

Vous le voyez, à la classe noble a succédé la classe bourgeoise, déjà beaucoup plus nombreuse et plus utile ; reste maintenant à CONSTITUER LA CLASSE OUVRIERE. Il faut donc qu’à leur tour les ouvriers, la partie vivace de la nation, forment une vaste UNION et SE CONSTITUENT EN UNITE ! Oh la classe ouvrière sera forte ; alors elle pourra réclamer auprès de MM. Les bourgeois et SON DROIT AU TRAVAIL et l’ORGANISATION DU TRAVAIL ; et se faire écouter. (Tristan, 1843, 28)

17Her definition of workers in this instance included all individuals working with their hands not only workers in factories (Union ouvrière, 1843, 74). All were expected to contribute to the union to access its protection and support. She excluded from this solidarity the idle, the lazy and those who did not work, les mendicants de profession. In the same vein, Tristan accepted inequalities resulting from differences in individual capacity:

Alors on en reconnaîtra plus qu’une seule inégalité ; mais celle-là, il nous faut la subir, l’accepter, car Dieu qui l’a posée. A l’un il distribue le génie, l’amour, l’intelligence, l’esprit, la force, la beauté ; à l’autre, il dénie tous ces dons, en fait un être stupide, sec de cœur et d’esprit, faible de corps, vilain de forme. Voilà l’inégalité native devant laquelle l’orgueil de l’homme doit s’humilier, et cette inégalité-là atteint indistinctement les fils des rois et les fils des esclaves. (Tristan, 1843, 107)

18The Union ouvrière project differs from other propositions such as Fourier’s phalansteries, or Owen’s reforms in the mills of Scotland, or Père Enfantin’s military villages in Algeria, as there were individual and isolated systems, whereas Tristan’s union was global (Blomberg, 1998). For Tristan, the working class had the power to improve its situation through their union. At the same time, she encouraged fraternity between the classes:

Je le répète, le comité central commettrait une grande faute s’il négligeait d’attirer sur l’UNION OUVRIERE la sympathie de toutes les classes de la société. (Tristan, 1843, 95)

19Similarly, she encouraged fraternity between workers of all nationalities, calling for a Union universelle des ouvriers et des ouvrières. In practice this meant no form of national discrimination in her Union:

L’UNION OUVRIERE procédant au nom de l’UNITE UNIVERSELLE ne doit faire aucune exception entre les nationaux et les ouvriers et ouvrières appartenant à n’importe quelle nation de la terre. Ainsi, pour tout individu dit étranger, les bénéfices de l’UNION seront absolument les mêmes que pour les Français. (Tristan, 1843, 74)

  • 8 Carole Christen-Lecuyer notes that the daily salaries of male workers oscillated between 1,41 and 3 (...)

20Members of the union paid 2 francs per year to the Palais de l’union ouvrière to finance actions of solidarity, such as the organization of care for children, the elderly and the disabled (Union ouvrière, 1843, 8).8 In comparison with the system of savings accounts (caisses d’épargne) that developed in 1818 to encourage workers to save money for their future, Tristan’s project contained the idea of the mutualization of individuals’ risks close to a social security system organized and financed by the working class for the working class. This mutualization of resources for the most disadvantaged was to be financed by the working class. Tristan does not suggest that the bourgeois and capitalist classes could or should contribute to this solidarity. This might explain her appeal to people from different social backgrounds. The list of contributors to the three different editions of the book illustrates the diversity in terms of social background of those who supported her; they included aristocrats such as Madame la baronne Aloyse de Carlowitz, as well as anonymous “rentiers”; domestic servants, such as Marie Mouret, alongside workers, lawyers, deputies, intellectuals, and artists, notably George Sand, the abolitionist Victor Schoelcher, the Saint-Simonian Victor Considérant and the liberal free-trade economist Louis Wolowski.

1.3 Theorizing Sex and Class Inequalities

  • 9 Cross and Gray neatly summarize the feminist achievement of this text: “By identifying the root cau (...)

21Tristan’s writings position her as a socialist but also as a liberal thinker who adhered to Christian values to promote solidarity (Cross and Gray, 1992). Her analysis of worker alienation and exploitation was rooted in her critique of capitalism. According to her, property relations and discrimination in education and work produced social inequality that specifically affected women. Tristan called for reforms in patriarchal and market relations to ensure women’s rights, which she saw as a precondition for workers’ rights (Shackelford, 2000). The emancipation of women was the first step to the emancipation of all workers. She called for the recognition of the working classes and fought for their rights, for both women and men, but she did not promote class struggle and believed in the possibility of a pacific partnership between the bourgeoisie and workers. Her contribution to economic thought lay, firstly in her exploration of the lives of workers and her concern to dialogue with them. Secondly, she stated that the improvement of the living condition of the working class would only be achieved with sex equality, a point that feminist scholars have long noted (Krulic, 2022). Tristan theorized in the Promenades dans Londres as well as Union ouvrière the double oppression of both capitalism and patriarchy that weighed on women. She developed the idea that the emancipation of the working class from capitalist oppression could come only from their willingness to be freed and this liberation could only occur with sex equality. (Tristan, 1843, 71) The third chapter of Union ouvrièreLe pourquoi je mentionne les Femmes—addressed specifically this issue. (Union ouvrière, 1843, 43). Sex equality was a matter of justice, but also the only way to improve the living condition of the working class. Educated mothers were better mothers, better capable of caring for the family. The two volumes Promenades dans Londres laid the empirical ground for her analysis, describing visits to London during 1828-1831 and 1835-1840 that developed a lengthy critique of class relations, working women’s oppression and working-class alienation within capitalist society.9 The Union ouvrière then developed a theoretical call for action.

C’est au nom de votre propre intérêt à vous, hommes ; c’est au nom de votre amélioration, à vous hommes ; enfin c’est au nom du bien-être universel de tous et toutes que je vous engage à réclamer des droits pour la femme, et, en attendant de les lui reconnaitre au moins en principe. (Tristan, 1843, 69)

  • 10 See the 4th section of this article for further analysis of her legacy.

22She pushed for equality between men and women and envisioned a central committee in charge of the Union composed of 40 men and 10 women (Tristan, 1843, 75). Finally, she laid the premises for an internationalism among workers by giving foreign workers the same rights as French workers.10 (Krulic, 2022)

1.4 Recognition by Peers

  • 11 Union ouvrière had three different editions between 1843 and 1844. For details concerning the numbe (...)
  • 12 Arnold Ruge, coeditor with Marx of the Deutsche-Französische Jahrbücher, met her at least twice in (...)
  • 13 La Sainte Famille ou la critique de la critique conte Bruno Bauer et consort, Karl Marx and Friedri (...)

23In the 1830s and 1840s, Flora Tristan corresponded and met with a wide range of socialist reformers, including such figures as Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, Étienne Cabet or Prosper Enfantin (Bland and Cross, 2004). Stéphane Michaud’s scholarship has revealed the extent of her correspondence and the impact of her ideas about the working class in the heady years leading up to the revolutions of 1848. Although no editor was prepared to publish her Union ouvrière in 1843, its appearance, thanks to a fund-raising campaign, testifies as well to the attention her writings attracted at the time. The Union ouvrière provided a doctrine, which contemporaries responded to, as the different editions indicate.11 Even though it is not certain that Marx met Tristan, both Engels and Marx knew her concept of the workers’ union,12 as Engels defended Tristan’s book in chapter IV of the Holy Family (1845) (Blomberg, 1998).13 The specialist of Karl Marx, Maximilen Rubel, considers it likely that Marx’s ideas about the union of the working class developed because of discussions generated around Tristan’s Union ouvrière, just months before his arrival in Paris in 1843. (Ruben, 1946, 4). Engels’s analyses echoed her idea about the double oppression of both capitalism and patriarchy in his famous book on the origin of the family (1884). He situated the family “institution” in the overall process of inheritance of wealth through the bourgeois marriage (Engels, [1884] 1974, 82). But he reverses the dynamic arguing that sex equality would result from class struggle. Even though Tristan had stated that the emancipation of the working class could only be realized by the working class itself, Marx and Engels did not allude to Tristan’s Union ouvrière in the Communist Manifesto. Rubel suggests that this might be due to Marx’s rejection of a sort of mysticism that characterized Tristan’s thought (Rubel, 1946). For Tristan the emancipation of the working class was linked to an external force close to a notion of “God”, for Marx it was driven by the knowledge of the social reality and the analysis of the production process. Others have argued that the notion of liberty promoted in Tristan’s thought was not compatible with Marx’s analysis. Still Tristan’s audacious proclamations were food for discussion across the socialist spectrum. Liberal thinkers were less interested. An anonymous author M.J.G. in the Journal des économistes in 1843 only briefly described the book which he/she characterized as a manifesto. (Journal des économistes, 1843, 106). He/she criticized the very possibility of organizing and governing a worker’s union. For him/her, Tristan’s project was utopian, along the same lines as Fourier’s phalansteries. Still, her writing was deemed worthy of notice.

2. Julie-Victoire Daubié: Gendering the Analysis of French Capitalism

24Julie-Victoire Daubié is well-known as the first woman to pass the baccalaureate in 1861, but she was also an essayist, who attracted her contemporaries’ attention. Her book La Femme pauvre au XIXe siècle (1866), was the result of her prize-winning essay in response to a competition launched by the Imperial Academy of Lyon in 1859. The Academy asked competitors to explore the position of women in industry in relation to men and to envision new careers for women. Daubié went on to campaign for women’s social, economic and civic rights, writing mainly for economic journals until shortly before her death when she published a series of ten brochures l’Emancipation de la femme en dix livraisons (1871), while also contributing to the feminist journal Le droit des femmes (André-Durupt, 2018; Hause, 1987).

2.1 An Analysis of Female Poverty

25La femme pauvre deploys the same attention to ethnographic and statistical detail that characterized commentators of the social world, such as Tristan before her (Martin, 2020, 93-96). Daubié explored the plight of the “poor woman” through deep research into the texts of social scientists, legal analyses, and available statistical studies. Her interest in working women was partly a product of her own trajectory. Born in 1824 into a lower-middle-class family, she experienced first-hand the difficulties of being a single woman without independent means in a society where women’s work was expected to complement that of their husbands. Her father, who worked as a cashier, died when she was one. As the last of eight children, she profited from the encouragement of one of her brothers who was a priest and quickly turned her ambitions to teaching as an “honorable” means to gain her living. By the age of twenty she was a governess in a family in her native Vosges department. By the early 1850s, she had moved to Paris and showed signs of her intellectual curiosity attending courses at the Museum d’histoire naturelle while also preparing in private the subjects that would allow her to pass the baccalaureate in 1861 at the age of thirty-seven. Her familiarity with the objects of secondary studies reserved for men are evident not only in her pioneering success in her studies but also in her ability to tackle the detailed socio-economic analysis evident in her prize-winning response to the 1859 essay competition.

  • 14 The latter was reissued in 1870 in a more complete version after receiving an honorable mention at (...)
  • 15 Joan Wallach Scott analyzes Daubié’s text alongside that of Jule Simon’s book L’ouvrière (1860), in (...)
  • 16 Between 1855 and 1864 Henri Baudrillart, a liberal economist directed the Journal des économistes. (...)

26Her essay, La femme pauvre, was initially published in the Journal des économistes. Revue de la science économique et de la statistique, between 1862 and 1865 while the 1866 publication was an abbreviated version intended for a wider public.14 This publication testifies to the resonance of her study within economic circles of the period that situate her as an intellectual peer and not an outsider.15 She was the third woman (following Mary Meynieu, 1859 and Clémence Royer, 1861) to write for the liberal Journal des économistes. She then pursued analyses of contemporary social and economic issues in the pro-colonial Économiste français in the 1860s. Both journals adopted a progressive political stance for the period with editors known for their liberal and/or socialist political orientations. In the 1860s the Journal des économistes16 was associated with the Société d’économie politique (see below), while the Économiste français was founded in 1862 by the fourierist and active colonialist Jules Duval as a tool to promote the emerging social sciences. Like the other woman contributor to the Économiste français, the nursery school reformer Marie Pape-Carpantier, Daubié saw education as the key to women’s economic advancement. But her book and articles show an ability to link history, legislation, and available statistical material to construct an argument about the specific difficulties faced by women. Her articles in these two journals addressed a range of issues about women’s social and economic status introducing more rigorous theoretical analysis into a debate that had been primarily focused on moral issues (Scott, 1988; Coffin, 1996).

  • 17 See Annex 2 with the list of Daubié’s publications.

27The articles in the Journal des économistes form the basis of her analysis about the status of women in an industrializing society dominated by male interest (Thiercé, 1999). In particular, she emphasized the larger forces—capitalist interests, the organization of the family or the State—that deprived woman of the ability to survive economically on their own. She identified education, particularly professional or vocational instruction, as the key to women’s economic emancipation. The arguments of her essay appeared in eight installments beginning with three articles on working women’s status (Quels moyens de subsistance ont les femmes ?), followed by three articles on the reasons behind women’s poverty (Cause de paupérisme pour la femme) and then three final articles on secondary education for women (De l’enseignement secondaire pour les femmes).17 In the articles published in the Journal des économistes, Daubié first drew a picture of the working women’s plight, emphasizing the effects of the Revolution and the beginning of industrialization. She chronicled the negative effect of mechanization on women’s work in the textile trades and then moved on to discuss women’s meager salaries in relation to men, due to their presence in the least qualified jobs, their isolation working at home and the effects of mechanization and the State’s absence of concern:

Les mécaniques ont ruiné le tricot, la couture, le filage à la main qui occupaient autrefois un grand nombre de femmes […] Pour la confection même des vêtements, qui occupant plus d’hommes que de femmes, le salaire de ces dernières est deux et trois fois moindre, faute d’instruction professionnelle. (Daubié, vol.1, 1992, 55-56)

28She also pointed out the unfair competition that female workers of the private sector faced by workers in prisons, convents, orphanages, whose production was sold for a low price and pushed female wages down.

Les travaux seuls de l’aiguille occupant plus de quinze mille prisonniers. Cette concurrence, si préjudiciable à l’industrie libre, paraît cependant insignifiante si on la compare à celle des couvents, ouvroirs, orphelinat, etc. qui livrant une quantité exorbitante de trousseaux et de layettes aux magasins, fait descendre de 25 à 10 centimes la façon d’une chemise d’homme, et à 1fr. 10 centimes celle d’une layette d’environ vint pièces. (Daubié, vol. 1, 1992, 57)

29This precarious situation of female workers increased their vulnerability to economic crisis, as most of them were paid by piece work. Daubié denounced women’s workers unhealthy working conditions as well, including within the short-lived and socialist-inspired national workshops opened in 1848 to ensure the workers right to work.

Plus de douze mille d’entre elles [female workers] allèrent s’y entasser à Paris […] ; les unes malades et infirmes, charges de famille gagnaient 6 sous par jour, d’autres 12 sous à la confection de chemises. (Daubié, vol. 1, 1992, 57)

30For Daubié, part of the solution layed in the regulation of industrial capitalism to prevent industrialists from taking advantages of workers. She praised the harmonization of labor laws at the European level to ensure the fairness of free trade.

La liberté de commerce nécessiterait donc préalablement uniformité de code européen sur une foule de questions industrielles, telles que les droits du maître sur l’ouvrier aux jours fériés, le travail des enfants dans les manufactures, les droits illégitimes à l’assistance paternelle, les devoirs des patrons à l’égard des ouvriers invalides etc. (Daubié, vol. 1, 1992, 75)

31But her analysis of poor women’s work was not limited to the comparison of factory and home workers, she also criticized the status of servant, whom she considered “less protected than slaves”, as well as teachers, offering a detailed history of the State’s unequal treatment of men and women teachers. In Daubié’s eyes, the poor woman included all women who relied on work for their subsistence.

  • 18 It should be noted that in the book, La femme pauvre, Daubié moved this section on the causes of pa (...)

32Daubié’s second series of articles for the Journal des économistes stepped back to examine from a more historical and theoretical perspective the “causes” of women’s poverty.18 Unlike Tristan, class did not frame her analysis, rather she emphasized the evolution of “family” politics, the issue of dowries, the treatment of widows and the decline of what she termed “moral solidarity”. The Revolution of 1789 played a particularly important role in her interpretation of women’s loss of economic security, and she criticized harshly the State for not assuming its’ responsibilities in relation to jobs, education, and old age pensions.

L’égalité civile, proclamée en 1789, aurait largement dédommagé la femme ; le droit commun et la spoliation des institutions qui assuraient sa subsistance faisaient supposer qu’un budget formé en partie par la vente des biens nationaux lui restitueraient la même initiative sociale qu’à l’homme ; mais ses passions, sa cupidité et son égoïsme érigés en loi ont fait pour nous un mensonge immortel des promesses de la Révolution française.

Si nous examinons la condition actuelle des femmes sans fortune nous les voyons opprimées surtout par la centralisation et par l’irresponsabilité morale. De l’infériorité dans les moyens d’action et dans l’action qui en laisse des millions sans appui et sans pain ; elles ne trouvent même plus de retraite hors de la société et de la famille qui les repoussent. (Daubié, 1992, vol. 1, 42)

33Throughout this series of articles, Daubié highlighted women’s need for education to improve their situation, echoing the calls of Saint-Simonian thinkers before her.

34Daubié contributions to l’Economiste français were less coherent thematically, as she responded both to current debates and to requests from the editor Jules Duval. Still a common emphasis on the need to moralize the workings of the State and the economy underlay her contributions. These ranged in topic from discussions of the model rural town (that offered education to all), to articles about the inequalities of education between the sexes, to a comparative study of women’s work in mines in England, Belgium, and France, to a series of three articles in 1870 on the public debate about prostitution in England. In contrast to her later articles about women’s emancipation, these contributions to contemporary public discussions returned frequently to issues of the need for the State and society collectively to moralize both public and family life to improve the status of women. This issue was at the heart of her article “Les colonies maternelles—réformes légales et sociales” (8 June 1865) in which she condemned the practice of wet nursing. Here she argued that the arrival of mercenary wet nurses in cities contributed to the growth of a proletariat, whose own children suffered from this practice. But if women resorted to wet nursing, she argued, it was because fathers did not support their families sufficiently. She called for the Société protectrice de l’enfance to lobby against the practice of wet nursing in general as well as to change the legislation, ensuring that fathers provide sufficient support so that working women could nurse their own children.

2.2 Instruction: The Key to Addressing Economic Inequalities

35While Daubié discussed in her essays the situation of working-class women, be they seamstresses, servants, wet nurses or women in the mines, her principal interest and area of expertise was in education. La femme pauvre offered a sustained critique of the inadequacies of women’s education and ended with a detailed analysis of the opportunities that vocational and professional instruction offered for women; Daubié argued that education would allow women to counter social inequalities. To this extent Daubié’s analyses echo liberal economists’ faith in the individual and the ability of the individual to profit from instruction. But she associated her faith in education with a political argument about the necessary role of the State in ensuring fair play in the labor market. Notably, she wanted the State to regulate religious teachers, refusing the privileges granted them in the 1850 educational laws. In this respect her analyses paralleled those of other defenders of a regulated free market, such as the Saint Simonian François Barthélémy Arlès Dufour who was among her most steadfast supporters (Jeanmichel, 1993).

  • 19 This issue of the use of comparisons in the emerging social sciences deserves an analysis on its ow (...)

36In La femme pauvre, Daubié drew on international comparisons, as did Flora Tristan, to suggest how other nations addressed the difficulties of working-class women, for example through family legislation that required men to support their wives and children or through associations or friendly societies, that allowed workers to group together in mutual support. The use of comparisons was a sign of both women’s awareness of how social scientists used comparisons to make their arguments. In Daubié’s case, it clearly reflected a form of political savvy (Rogers, 2005, 215-218).19 Daubié endorsed the protective measures she described elsewhere, such as the British societies for the “moralization of domestic servants,” but her ambition for France was greater. Women deserved more than forms of protection, they deserved access to education on the same terms as men, an education that would allow them to get more qualified jobs in the labor market. And while her study did address the situation of female manual workers, the primary thrust of her argument was more directed to woman, such as herself, from the lower middle classes, with non-existent dowries, and a need to earn a living. As a result, she devoted considerable attention to women’s « professional condition », studying the status and economic conditions of women in the arts, in theater, in literature, higher education, medicine and law. Her study emphasized the inequities of the educational system that favored boys over girls, male inspectors over female inspectors and religious over lay women.

37The professional education she defended most passionately was that of teachers, although she also saw the need to expand women’s presence in civil service or office jobs, such as the post office, the revenue services, archives, the telegraph, or railways. She based her call for access to such positions on article 6 of the revolutionary Declaration des droits de l’homme:

Tous les citoyens étant égaux à ses yeux, sont également admissibles à toutes les dignités, places et emplois publics, selon leur capacité, et sans autre distinction que celle de leurs vertus et de leurs talents. (Daubié, 1992, vol. 1, 161)

38But teaching clearly stood out as an exemplary profession in Daubié’s eyes, as women teachers would then provide an example to the girls they taught, an example of what women could achieve in terms of economic independence but also an example of moral behavior thanks to the just salary attached to their work.

39Daubié’s commitment to education as a means for some women to achieve economic independence was coupled with a conviction that the State should be responsible for ensuring this education. As a result, she spent long pages detailing the historical development of a public educational system, that she considered a public good. She noted, in particular, the ways this development ignored or discriminated against women, especially in terms of salary. She also devoted careful attention to the unequal treatment of religious women teachers compared to lay women teachers; the formers were not only protected by their religious congregations, but also by what she termed a “clerical State” that required lay women to have teaching credentials while dispensing nuns from such requirements.

si les alarmes d’orateurs illustres et d’écrivains éminents ont pu partager la France en deux camps rivaux [between lay and clerical forces], je demande encore une fois qu’on juge de la possibilité d’une lutte pour des femmes pauvres, livrées à l’arbitraire contre les corporations privilégiées, cumulant toujours, et jouissant en sécurité de leur monopole après la défaite d’une téméraire concurrence ; eh quoi ! après nous avoir broyées entre l’enclume universitaire et le marteau clérical vous osez parler de notre liberté ! (Daubié, 1992, vol. 1, 116)

40Alongside her strongly worded defense of lay women teachers, Daubié argued more politically for the need to develop girls’ secondary and even higher education so that French industrializing society would hold its own in the concert of nations. Women’s education here was less a matter of human capital, but rather a necessary moralizing force to resolve the inequalities of a capitalist society that discriminated more against women than men.

2.3 Family, Solidarity and Education between Capital and Work

41Daubié’s frequent contributions to economic journals testify to her concern to introduce a gendered perspective on intellectual debates of the period, notably with respect to the position of women in the working world. Her contributions frequently responded to the position of other thinkers who saw the need to reform family or work legislation, but she stood out in her commitment to reforms that would enable women’s economic independence, most notably through education. The second edition of La Femme pauvre, in 1870, concluded with an Essai d’organisation de la famille et de solidarité entre le capital et le travail which illustrates, the broader contribution she sought to make after ten years of research on the topic of the poor woman. Here she moved away from a focus on women to argue for a vision of French political economy that positioned her within the family of liberal economists of her time. Three issues emerge from this essay: the importance of family legislation to protect women from the corrosive immorality of existing social relations; the importance of establishing harmonious relations between capital and work through mechanisms of solidarity, and the necessity to ensure that the State, thanks to the development of universal suffrage, would ensure “the duties of justice in the moral and economic order”. (Daubié, 1993, vol. 3, 87)

42In calling for reforms in family law, such as the civil identity of married women, the right to divorce, the right to paternity searches, Daubié echoed the calls of some of her contemporaries, such as Paul Lacombe or André Léo (Pavard et al., 2020). She was more innovative in her calls to establish forms of solidarity between capital and work, where she firmly rejected any form of Marxist socialism, which would introduce war, she argued. Instead, she called for forms of association, supported by the State that would prevent capitalists from being the sole beneficiaries of the plus value des prêts. She emphasized:

Ce qu’il faut associer, ce ne sont pas les ouvriers contre le capital mais avec le capital ; ce qu’il faut proclamer, ce n’est pas le droit au travail mais le droit au repos par le travail. (Daubié, 1993, t. 3, 80-81)

43She continued in this vein, advocating a sort of taxation on capital gains and dividends to ensure a minimum living standard for the working class and compensate the low wages resulting from the law of supply and demand in the labor market:

La règle de l’association des capitaux et des bras pour la production consiste donc après avoir payé les salaires d’après les lois de l’offre et de la demande, à la faire subir aussi au loyer du capital en le fixant, avons-nous dit, comme les mercuriales d’après les oscillations qui résultant de l’abondance ou de la disette périodique du numéraire sur le marché financier. En dehors de ce mètre, la plus-value des titres et des dividendes, à partir du prix d’émission, doit prévenir la détresse des travailleurs et les nécessités normales de toute existence, car le salariat, expression du minimum des besoins les plus impérieux de la vie physique de celui seul qui travail, n’est souvent, comme nous l’avons vu que le thermomètre de la misère générale et individuelle. (Daubié, 1993, vol. 3, 84-85)

44In this theoretical and conceptual overview of her economic and political vision, she concluded with sixteen propositions that engaged the State in reforms that would moralize the family, provide education equally to boys and girls, but also modify economic life. With respect to work, her ninth proposition reveals her belief in the free market.

9° Droit du travail par une loi sur le profit du prêt capital fixé périodiquement d’après la valeur réelle que les dividendes et l’offre et la demande donnent au numéraire sur les marches financiers (Daubié, 1993, vol. 3, 91).

  • 20 These proposals addressed issues relating to the civil code, the liberty of the press, the “emancip (...)

45Strikingly, this series of propositions that included “universal suffrage, based on capacity and morality” moved well beyond the topics that Daubié had studied in her earlier publications and illustrates her ambition to intervene on a broad conceptual basis in French intellectual life.20 It bears note at well that her concluding argument, cited above, engages with economic debates of the time about the effects of free trade and the limitations of capitalism. She did not publish this essay in the Journal des économistes, but with the editor Ernest Thorin in the second edition of her book, La femme pauvre. The final section of this article explores the consequences of this publishing strategy for the posthumous reception of her oeuvre.

2.4 Recognition by Peers

  • 21 For information about the liberal and Saint-Simonian influences on French economic and intellectual (...)

46Julie-Victoire Daubié’s arguments drew attention within the liberal and saint-simonian circles of her time.21 In addition to publishing her analysis of “the poor woman”, the Journal des économistes also publicized her conferences. In 1863 the editor-in-chief, Henri Baudrillart, included a description of Mlle Daubié’s conferences on the condition of poor women in his Chronique économique (Baudrillart, 1863, 543-544). After her death in 1874, the President of the Société d’économie politique, Pierre Émile Levasseur (1828-1911), wrote that she deserved a place among economists, but the statutes of male scientific societies did not permit this inclusion:

J’ai à vous faire part de la mort récente d’une femme qui aurait assurément mérité d’être au nombre des membres de la Société d’économie politique si les statuts de la société autorisaient l’admission des femmes (Levasseur, 1875, 154).

  • 22 Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, Fonds Julie-Victoire Daubié, lettres remises par Laure Reuchsel. Fo (...)
  • 23 Delbruck is identified in Pierre Larousse’s Grand Dictionnaire universel as an « economist ». (Laro (...)

47Daubié’s family archive confirms the recognition she received among the prominent economic thinkers of her period both in France and in Great Britain. She sent her book La Femme pauvre to politicians and essayists such as Jules Simon or Célestin Hippeau but also further publicized her arguments in conferences and regular contributions to economic journals.22 Saint-Simonian circles, notably in Lyon around the industrialist Arlès Dufour, were attracted to the way she linked the improvement of women’s economic status to the development of professional education. Figures such as Enfantin or the pedagogue Jules Delbruck23 attended conferences she gave, and she interacted with such British celebrities as John Stuart Mill or the feminist Josephine Butler whose campaign against organized prostitution attracted attention throughout Europe (André-Durupt, 2018). For her contemporaries, Daubié was unusual in her incisive criticism of contemporary society and recognized as an economic thinker whose ideas merited debate.

3. Clémence Royer: A Liberal Promoting the Role of the State

48Clémence Royer was a similarly positioned as an unusual intellectual woman with both knowledge and opinions about economic matters. Given her career that spanned the last forty years of the century, she also had the opportunity to write and speak in a political context that paid greater attention to women, as they began slowly to enter universities and pursue careers in the liberal professions (but not in economic departments). Born in 1830 in Nantes, Clémence Royer was the daughter of a French legitimist. During her childhood, she had irregular access to formal instruction both at home and in a religious boarding school. Like Daubié, she passed teaching exams when her father died in 1849, leaving her without a fortune. She began to earn her living as a teacher in England, but her discovery of the encyclopedists led her quickly to dedicate her life to the pursuit of science and knowledge. Geneviève Fraisse’s biography of Royer, positions her as a “philosopher and a woman of sciences” while Joy Harvey emphasizes her engagement with feminism in the world of nineteenth-century science (Fraisse, [1984] 2002; Harvey, 1977). Royer was particularly conversant in biology and anthropology, but also deeply interested in the social and economic debates of her time. As mentioned by Forget in The Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists (2000), Royer merits more historical interest from economists than she has yet received. Our focus here is on positioning her with respect to economists at the time, given that her first published work in 1862 was a treatise on tax reform.

3.1 A Freethinker Transgressing Disciplinary Borders

49Royer’s intellectual curiosity brought her into early contact with economists of her time. In 1856, Royer moved to Lausanne to study; two years later she met the liberal economist, politician, and exiled Republican, Pascal Duprat who introduced her to economics. Royer followed Duprat’s course on political economy at the University of Lausanne and later lived with and had a son with him, without ever marrying. In 1859, she opened a course on philosophy for woman only in Lausanne, encouraging women to develop scientific knowledge of philosophical thought (Pratelle, 1918; Fraisse, [1984] 2002, 167-185). In her interdisciplinary approach to knowledge, she believed that science and rationality had a philosophical basis. This interdisciplinarity is reflected in her publications that ranged from papers and treatises on economic topics such as taxation and free trade, to articles on women’s work or on the origins of social inequalities. Royer is best known as the first translator in French of the first three editions of Darwin’s seminal book on the origin of species, in 1862, 1866 and 1870. For each edition she included a preface to bolster her own analysis, thus becoming not only a translator but an interlocutor of Darwin (Fraisse, 1983).

50Clémence Royer’s social, economic, and political views are best grasped in her voluminous study, Origine de l’homme et des sociétés, published by Guillaumin in 1869. Here she firmly rejected the notion of equality in socialist conceptualizations, including the “doctrine of equivalence” that Proudhon had put forward:

À la doctrine de l’égalité absolue, insoutenable, c’est en vain que Proudhon a voulu substituer la doctrine de l’équivalence. (Royer, 1869, chapitre XIII, De l’origine des inégalités sociales, 544).

51Drawing on her anthropological expertise, she argued that human beings were unequal by nature, both within the same “race” and between different “races”:

Les hommes sont inégaux par nature : voilà le point dont il faut partir. Ils sont individuellement inégaux même dans les races les plus pures et entre les races différentes, ces inégalités prennent des proportions si grandes, au point de vue intellectuel, que le législateur devra toujours en tenir compte. (Royer, 1862, Preface to the 1st edition of Origine des espèces de Charles Darwin, Fraisse, [1984] 2002, 163)

52Crucially, however, she did not apply this natural justification for racial and individual inequalities to sex inequalities. While acknowledging female intellectual inferiority, she attributed it, like the Saint-Simonians to social behavior, custom, and the patriarchal oppression of men that prevented women from learning along male lines. But she developed this argument in an anthropological perspective :

Une nouvelle nécessité sociale développait ainsi de nouveaux instincts chez les deux sexes, en atrophiant, modifiant ou fortifiant les anciens ; et de nouvelles habitudes devaient avoir pour résultat, presque immédiat ou plus ou moins prochain, de modifier leur organisation physique. (Royer, 1869, chapitre XIII, De l’origine des inégalités sociales, 548)

53To counter female inferiority, Royer advocated better education for girls and women, like Daubié and the early feminists before her.

54Royer’s scientific reasoning positioned her as a feminist. Although she never joined activist groups, she attended the first international congress for women’s rights in Paris in 1878 and published at the end of the century in the feminist newspaper, La Fronde (Fraisse, [1984] 2002, 97). While she imagined the possibility of eradicating gender inequalities, she nonetheless believed that individual inequalities would last, and that racial inequalities were irreducible. (Fraisse, [1984] 2002, 51) Based on her theory of inequalities, she promoted colonialism and a sort of racial segregation, and this before French colonial expansion in the Third Republic, and before the liberal economist Paul Leroy Beaulieu published his De la colonisation chez les peuples modernes in 1874 (Bernardini, 2013). Despite the fact she accepted as “natural” both social and racial inequalities, she nonetheless opposed the institution of slavery (Royer, 1888). Her foremost campaign was for “equality in liberty” to improve human living conditions and as a basic principle of justice

La loi de l’équité et le chemin du bonheur pour tous, c’est l’égalité de la liberté et le progrès par l’inégalité qui, de l’animal ayant fait naître l’homme, de l’homme peuvent dans l’avenir faire naitre la race divine qui gouvernera la terre avec justice, dans la joie et dans la paix. (Royer, 1869, chapitre XIII, De l’origine des inégalités sociales, 587)

55The scientific approach she adopted was not bounded by disciplines, she was interested in all sciences that offered insight on human societies and the means to improve living standards for all. Royer’s individualism shared the concerns expressed among the liberal political economists who dominated public economic debates in the middle of the 19e century. From Jean-Baptiste Say to Frédéric Bastiat, liberal economists promoted free competition between individuals as the driving force for social progress. Like them, Royer’s research topics reflected a belief in a natural order and this credo of socio-economic analysis lent weight to the biological dimension of her analysis of individual inequalities. Royer argued not only that individual inequalities predominated (in the sense that they are at the origin of racial and social inequalities), but also that these inequalities were useful for human development, as they encouraged the “natural” selection of the best individuals, thus contributing to the elevation of the race:

[I]l y a utilité résultante à ce que ces êtres humains soient choisis parmi les plus élevés de la série, c’est-à-dire les plus parfaits, les plus aptes à réaliser pour eux et leur postérité les conditions d’un bonheur croissant. (Royer, 1869, chapitre XII, L’instinct guerrier et l’esprit de conquête, 532)

56In the same vein of liberal economic thought, Royer argued that liberalism began with the suppression of inherited privileges and rents. The French revolution offered everyone the possibility to become what they wanted possible according to their ability:

La liberté réclamée par le tiers-état révolutionnaire, bourgeois comme peuple et peuple comme bourgeois, c’était la liberté du citoyen, libre agriculteur et libre industriel de la cité phénicienne, grecque ou romain, ; c’était la liberté de devenir, chacun sous sa responsabilité, ce qu’il aurait la force d’être. (Royer, 1869, chapitre XIII, De l’origine des inégalités sociales, 579)

57Nonetheless, Royer recognized that the liberal potential for self-realization had generated increasing social inequalities that required correction. With this realization came her proposals for a system of taxation that would help to curb the excessive inequalities.

3.2 A Liberal Perspective: Equity rather than Equality

58Royer’s first published writings positioned her within a liberal economic nexus: in 1862 Guillaumin published her two-volume essay on taxation, Théorie de l’impôt, ou La dîme sociale. Between 1861 and 1889 twenty-nine of her articles appeared in the Journal des économistes (which was also published by Guillaumin). Her contributions ranged from discussions about “fiscal sciences” to essays on women’s work, the problems associated with the “free exchange of services”, the means of improving the status of the working classes, studies on justice and social inequalities or the abolition of slavery in Brazil.

59Her most substantive contribution to economic thought can be found in her treatise on taxation. The scope of Royer’s treatise must be considered in the light of contemporary debates on this topic among economists. The French taxation system had developed since the French revolution, initially with the implementation of the “quatre vieilles” in 1791, followed by a myriad of other taxes and contributions (Delalande, 2011, 32). For most liberal economists the multiplication of different systems appeared not only inconsistent but also inefficient. Most were opposed to public debt because it was presumed to be costly, due to the interest associated with indebtedness that was charged by banks for the costs of borrowing. The alternative envisioned was to build a modern taxation system to finance public spending. Liberal economists sought to limit public spending to the minimum; in consequence they argued taxes should be as low as possible (Silvant, 2019). By mid-century, in the context of broader debates about the “social question”, economists increasingly introduced notions of progressivity or proportionality in taxation in connection with the underlying principle of justice.

60Royer’s treatise on taxation pioneered the idea of individual taxation. She began by defining taxation, criticizing prestigious predecessors, such as Adam Smith or Jean-Baptiste Say, for what she described as descriptive rather than conceptual definitions of taxation.

D’après Smith, ‘L’impôt forme le revenu public que le peuple contribue à composer au souverain ou à l’État au moyen de ses propres revenus particuliers’. C’est ce que la logique de Port-Royal appellerait une définition de chose mais non d’idée. Smith fidèle à sa méthode expérimentale exprime un fait sans en rechercher les raisons. Say ne va pas plus loin. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 25)

61Similarly, she was not satisfied with her companion Pascal Duprat’s definition. In reaction, she offered a conceptual definition based on a specific conception of citizenship and the citizen’s relationship to the polity:

L’impôt est la quote-part de puissance productrice, sous forme de services personnels ou de contributions de toute nature, que chaque citoyen doit à la communauté en échange des services qu’il en a reçus, en reçoit et en recevra par le fait de sa participation sociale et à titre de restitution des avances faites par les générations passées au profit des générations futures (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 27).

62For Royer, taxation was more than just the material exchange of services between the State and individuals who would pay for collective services; it established a social link aimed at creating collective bonds within a given society. Taxation represented “le tribut du citoyen à ses égaux” (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 23). Taxation was not only fair and just, but it was also the source of collective progress. Royer’s treatise described then a system of taxation (tax base, level, and type of tax rate) that was fair and efficient economically, while considering international trade and the fiscal competition that existed between nations.

63At the time, one of the debates on taxation concerned fairness and justice, which led to debates on proportionality versus progressivity of taxation. Royer followed Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say in arguing that the determination of income tax should take into consideration citizens’ ability to pay. The tax burden included all types of income (rent, profit, wages). Most liberal economist were in favor of proportional taxation, but Royer’s proposal defended progressivity in taxation. For instance, she explicitly opposed John Stuart Mill’s vision who argued that a fair taxation system should be based on “equality of sacrifice”. Royer claimed that this principle was too vague to be implemented, as “sacrifice” can be interpreted in different ways. She pointed out the contradiction within Mill’s analysis as equality of sacrifice should lead to progressivity in taxation, a principle which he strongly opposed. (Royer, 1862, 33). In contrast, Royer defended the principle of progressivity in income taxation as a basic principle of justice—the principe d’équité (Royer, 1862, 121). This was a way to reduce the unfair inequality between individuals accumulated over centuries within societies. Here, despite her defense of natural inequalities of abilities and talent between individuals as a source of progress, she explained that social rules and laws had denatured and aggravated this process by giving more to the strongest and less to the weakest, resulting in unfair inequalities; the latter were socially constructed and could not be considered as the product of unequal talent or ability. The accumulation of wealth by the richest was made possible thanks to the legal protection of private ownership by the State and the inheritance law (1862, 38). This led her to conclude:

On peut dire, d’après cela, que toute possession, toute faculté économique ou naturelle provient en partie du jeu des forces libres ; mais en plus grande part encore de la protection légale. (Royer, 1862, vol. I, 39)

64For Royer, the wealthier owed a debt to society whereas social protection, either through the State or individuals, had failed to protect the poorest or enable them to escape poverty. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 40)

Les biens d’un homme, le capital qu’il possède augmente certainement ses forces productrices dans un rapport plus grand que la simple proportionnalité : celui qui n’a rien ne peut rien, celui qui a quelque chose peut beaucoup, celui qui a beaucoup peut tout ou presque tout (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 43)

65She described a society of privileges in which individual competition failed both in terms of equality and efficiency. Progressive taxation should tackle these types of inequalities:

Or, aussi longtemps que les extrêmes opposés de la richesse et de la misère existeront chez une nation, nous disons que l’impôt progressif est, non pas seulement juste, mais que dans une certaine mesure il est inévitable. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 49)

66Royer’s treatise on taxation aimed at building a society in which individual talent could emerge regardless of social origin. She argued for the abolition of privilege and the organization of society around the principle of fair individual competition:

Il faut que l’individualité grandisse et que l’esprit de caste diminue, emportant avec soi les privilèges héréditaires à perpétuité. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 66)

67In the liberal school, the few economists who defended the progressivity of taxation were generally associated with its limitation in time, as suggested by Sigot (2010). This was also the position of Royer. She argued that the progressivity of taxation could only end with the abolition of social inequalities associated with the divide between the condition of aristocrats and the proletariat. In other words, the end of such taxation would only be effective once inequalities had returned to their natural basis, that of individual abilities rather than inheritance within families and the accumulation of wealth. The restoration of the natural order then enabled proportionality of taxation to reward work and encourage saving:

Elle [la progressivité de l’impôt] diminuera naturellement à mesure que les extrêmes de la richesse se rapprocheront. Lorsqu’enfin tout citoyen possèdera, si peu que ce soit, et que par cette possession du capital il sera placé au-dessus des fatalités économiques propres au prolétariat ; l’impôt devra redevenir rigoureusement proportionnel car toute progression tomberait alors, non sur l’hérédité, mais sur le travail et décourageraient l’épargne. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 54)

L’impôt progressif c’est la conséquence logique de l’aristocratie : il ne doit disparaitre qu’avec elle, comme elle avec lui. (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 57)

68Royer stood out amongst liberal economists of her time, in her criticism of proportionality in taxation and her reluctance to abolish progressivity as soon as possible. Her argument was far more radical, as she associated the end of progressivity with the end of a social order that restricted social mobility. Royer was an individualist, a liberal thinker but certainly not a conservative. She defended a limited taxation level controlled by a rationalization of public spending, which ensured social and economic progress. Unlike most liberal economists, and following John Stuart Mill, she combined considerations of utility with those of equity to reduce the inequalities of income between social classes. (Silvant, 2010).

69Royer’s taxation system followed six general principles: the tax burden should be shared proportionally among citizens or progressively when inequalities were high (Principle d’équité). Taxation must be calculated to finance the needs of the state that promote social progress (Principle d’utilité). Taxation should encourage consumption that was good for health (food, clothing, housing…) (Principe d’hygiène). Tax contribution should be a free decision related to the adherence to the social contract (Principe de liberté). It must respect individual liberty and natural rights (Principe de politique) and support human dignity through work (Principe de morale). This last principle led her to analyze the situation of housewives and their contribution to the society.

3.3 Female Domestic Labor and Taxation

70Royer took women into consideration in her analysis of taxation arguing for the need to adapt the system to integrate women’s socially imposed inferiority. She defended the principle that women should participate in taxation, including the military tax, to “increase their social dignity” (Royer, 1862, vol. 1, 170). Women’s role in her taxation system was then detailed in the chapter dedicated to the taxation of idleness (Royer, 1862, Chapitre XLV; De l’impôt sur l’oisiveté, Théorie de l’impôt ou de la dîme sociale, vol. I, 279). According to her, without specific taxation on idleness, the idle would pay only a proportional taxation of capital income, whereas workers would pay a progressive income tax on their earned income. She concluded that this situation would be unfair. Those who work, produce and become wealthier enrich the State by income tax paid and by the wealth produced. This is not the case for those who do not work. Therefore, according to her the idle should be taxed—and particularly, wealthy rentiers—all those whose wealth did not come from their own productive ability.

Aucun citoyen n’a donc le droit d’être oisif : ce principe est absolu. (Royer, 1862, chapitre De l’impôt sur l’oisiveté, vol. 2, 280)

71This chapter nuances liberal position she defended earlier on. Indeed, she defended progressive taxation that would affect those who did not want to work. Based on the annual statement and in addition to taxation of capital income, those who did not work would pay a tax that would increase logarithmically with their wealth. This taxation was based on the moral argument that idleness was not socially acceptable.

72The obligation to work should be applied to all individuals, including women. She did not consider the status of housewife (mère de famille) as idleness (Royer, 1862, vol. 2, 284). This led her to analyze specifically the status of mothers, that required women be educated to be the teacher of their children: la femme est par droit et par devoir institutrice de ses enfants (Royer, 1862, vol. II, 282). As mothers, women contributed to the wealth of the society, therefore Royer compared this devotion to the military service mandatory for men: la maternité, c’est le service militaire des femmes (Royer, 1862, vol. II, 282). If women were not able to raise their own children, then they should work and used their wage to pay for education and childcare. But if women used those services without working, then the part of the income they relied on in the family should be taxed. Only the care of children could be excluded from taxation; the bourgeoise in charge of domestic servants or the housewife who performed domestic labor should pay the patente. She considered the value of domestic work as a sort of shadow income that should be taxed. This taxation aimed to increase the incentive for women to work and to fulfill their social role, and more importantly to prevent them from being inactive. After a certain age, 50 for women and 60 for men, Royer proposed that individuals be exempted from this personal taxation.

  • 24 Paul Boiteau was a liberal economist and maître des requêtes au Conseil d’Etat. In 1865 and 1866, h (...)

73This position on women’s status regarding taxation was not consensual within the male economic circles. For instance, Paul Boiteau24, whose review of Royer’s Treatise was published in Le journal des économistes disagreed with this position. He argued that women by nature have no rights and no duties, in consequence they should be exempted from any taxation:

S’il appartient à quelqu’un de soutenir la thèse de l’ingérence des femmes dans les charges et fonctions publiques, c’est évidemment à l’auteur de la Théorie de l’impôt ; mais la valeur même d’une individualité comme la science ne saurait prévaloir contre la loi de nature qui, non sans compensation, a écarté la femme de tout un ordre de devoirs et de droits sociaux, qui la dispense par conséquent d’une part de la contribution publique, et nous n’admettons pas qu’en l’inscrivant sur la liste des débiteurs du service militaire, on lui donne le prétexte de réclamer en échange un rôle qu’elle ne peut jouer qu’en détruisant la famille. (Boiteau, 1864, 235)

3.4 Recognition by Peers

74Royer’s “career” spanned the final four decades of the century. Like Daubié, economists recognized Royer during her lifetime as a credible scientific interlocutor, including in her pioneering translation of Darwin’s Origins of Species. The Société d’économie politique noted Royer’s theoretical engagement with Darwin that went beyond translation:

Mlle C-A Royer, qui accepte et commente la théorie de l’auteur, voit dans cette loi la généralisation de celle de Malthus et en même temps la condamnation des conséquences que Malthus en a tirées pour l’espère humaine. Cela mérite examen. (Garnier, Annales de la société d’économie politique, 1862, 4)

  • 25 The final two essays received a special mention.

75But it was her treatise on taxation that clearly positioned Royer as an intellectual peer and an expert among economists, one whose ideas were debated with others. This was the case in the contest on the question of taxation launched by the Comté de Vaud in Switzerland in 1859. The rapporteur of the jury was the liberal economist Antoine-Elisée Cherbuliez, professor of political economy at the Ecole Polytechnique fédérale in Zurich and member of the Société d’économie politique. The jury rewarded 5 essays: Joseph Proudhon received 1000 francs, Royer 400 francs, and Léon Walras 300 francs.25 Joseph Garnier, secretaire perpetuel of the Société d’économie politique, commented ironically on the results noting that the notoriously anti-feminist Proudhon was not only judged by an economist but also challenged by a female economist. While Garnier opposed Royer’ s advocacy for an income tax, he nonetheless included her in the ranks of non-interventionist liberal economist.

  • 26 « Le congrès international de l’impôt : ses travaux et ses débats », Le nouvel économiste, 25 août (...)

76Royer’s inclusion in the existing networks of economists continued after the competition organized by the Comté de Vaud, which was followed by an international symposium on taxation in Lausanne in July 1860. Here she wrote several detailed articles about the event for Pascal Duprat’s liberal journal, Le Nouvel éonomiste.26 In the aftermath of these two events, she was invited to participate in a session, chaired by Hippolyte Passy, of the Société d’économie politique on May 5, 1862. Royer took the floor after a long speech by Jules Simon on female wages, and women’s rights. She thanked the members for the invitation in her name and in that of all women who were excluded from the Société and noted, pointedly, that this old-fashioned exclusionary tradition should cease. In October of the same year, she was invited to present her theory of taxation, a communication that received very favorable notice:

Au sujet de l’impôt on a entendu […] plusieurs aperçus sur la théorie de l’impôt par divers orateurs, au nombre desquels le plus remarqué a été sans contredit celui de Mlle Royer dont l’opinion, exposée avec beaucoup de netteté a été écoutée avec le plus vif intérêt et qui a été partout accueillie avec déférence et empressement. (Annales de la société d’économie politique, 1862, 45)

77In 1864, Paul Boiteau reviewed Royer’s treatise in the Journal des économistes. Although critical about certain aspects, he concluded that it was a major contribution to the science of taxation:

On est heureux de voir ce livre signé d'un nom de femme. Il mérite de rester parmi les meilleures études que puissent consulter ceux qui veulent non pas reformer sur un plan nouveau et inconnu, mais améliorer sans cesse les imperfections de la science fiscale. Ce ne sont pas ses conclusions, c'est toute sa critique, et ses principes généraux qui lui vaudront cet honneur. (Boiteau, 1864, 239)

  • 27 An expression attributed to the philosopher Ernest Renan, see Thilda Harlor (1954, 525).

78In 1901, just before her death, Royer was admitted as member of the Société d’économie politique (Bulletin de la Société d’économie politique, séance du 5 décembre 1901, 210). Finally, this independent intellectual woman, said to reason like a man, joined the recognized coterie of learned men.27

4. Concluding Remarks on Legacy and Oversight

4.1 Posthumous Recognition

79Biographical studies of Tristan, Daubié and Royer have all established the extent to which they attracted public attention in the social debates of the nineteenth century. The early decades of the twentieth century brought all three women back into economic discussions. Tristan’s legacy in socialist circles acquired has been well documented. The French historian Jules L. Puech’s detailed biography in 1925 has been described as initiating “Flora Tristan studies”, but her posthumous recognition as the instigator of a workers’ union among Marxists and feminists preceded this first academic study (Puech, 1925a; 1925b; Cross, 2020). The prominent socialist activist Hélène Brion, for example, attributed the communist International to Tristan in her 1919 brochure (Brion, 1919, 3-22). The German activist Clara Zetkin wrote an article about Tristan in 1928 after having read Puech works (Blomberg, 1998, 13). In the early twentieth century, however, Tristan had not yet been written into the dictionaries of economic thought.

  • 28 Paul Leroy-Beaulieu pursued this emphasis on working women and women’s labor in his book Travail de (...)
  • 29 Revue des principales publications économiques en langue française.
  • 30 Bulletin de la Société d’économie politique, octobre 1903, p. 147-137.
  • 31 Jules Simon’s contribution is mentioned in the items “Règlementation du travail”, “Industrie”, and (...)

80Daubié’s analyses of working women did not vanish from liberal discourses with her death, but few scholars have sought to trace her presence in the economic debates of the final quarter of the century.28 In 1898 the conservative liberal economist A. Rouxel published what he considered the key economic publications in French for the Journal des économistes.29 In the list he included Daubié’s book, La femme pauvre, arguing that feminism was compatible with economic, but not with socialism. A. Rouxel once again mentioned Daubié in a session of October 5, 1903, of the Société d’économie politique, during a discussion on feminism and economics.30 The question proposed for discussion was Le féminisme a-t-il quelque chose à attendre ou à redouter des économistes? Rouxel first commented that this question should be addressed scientifically, not politically. He suggested the following modification of the terms of the debate : Le féminisme a-t-il quelque chose à attendre ou à redouter de la science économique et non des économistes ? And he added that without a doubt feminism could rely on economics as economics relied on the principle of liberty for all, just as feminism advocated more liberty for women (Rouxel, 1903). Despite Rouxel’s use of Daubié’s work to reconcile liberal economics with feminism, her scholarship nonetheless remained invisible in early histories of economic thought. Léon Say’s and Joseph Chailley’s monumental Nouveau dictionnaire d’économie politique (1892) failed to include an entry on Daubié and succeeding historians of economic thought have seldom thought to correct this oversight; it did mention some of her peers such as Jules Simon.31

  • 32 This process has been well documented for the field of history, where a similar process is apparent (...)

81Clémence Royer, however, held a different position. When Léon Say and Joseph Chailley sought contributors to the Nouveau dictionnaire d’économie politique (Tome 2, 1892), they turned to Clémence Royer to write the articles about Pierre Leroux, positivism, Proudhon, Robertus-Jagetzow, Rousseau, Saint-Simon and Villermé (Fraisse, [1984], 2002, 170). The nature of such dictionaries that privileged those figures whose names have since constituted schools of economic thought.32 When historians then produced syntheses of nineteenth-century French economic thought they traced the development of political economy, focusing on chairs within institution and societies, such as the Société d’économie politique, failing to see how a few exceptional women shaped the debates of the period (Bernardini, 1997; Etner and Silvant, 2017; Le Van-Mesle, 2004). Fleshing out the networks of Tristan, Daubié, and Royer reveal the extent to which they participated in contemporary debates, while consideration of their legacy in economic thought draws attention to the difficulties involved in integrating women into the economic canon.

4.2 On the Definition of Economics

  • 33 See Lechapelain and Baijot (this issue) on women entrepreneurs.

82As recent publications on women’s contribution in the history of economics suggest, the oversight of Tristan, Daubié and Royer may be due to the definition of the discipline itself. The narrow definition of economics based on professorship at the University or seminal books excludes de facto most women in the history of economic thought (and many men). Feminist economists have suggested the need to question this definition of the discipline and its relationship with political activism. But enlarging the scope requires a precise methodology to specify the border of the discipline, with other disciplines such sociology or with political activism. Dimand et al. (2000, xvii) suggest that all individuals who were intentionally working in what would, at the time they wrote, have been considered economics should be considered economists. This implies including economists working in government departments, those who wrote scholarly texts on economics topics or individuals working in business.33 In this effort to redefine what constituted economics, they exclude people who were primarily social activists or journalists who, occasionally, wrote on topics related to economic reform (Dimand et al., 2000, xvii). With this definition, Dimand et al. (2000, xvii) consider Tristan as an economist, but not Clara Zetkin. With a broader definition of what is an economist as in Madden et al. (2004, 527), Zetkin achieves recognition. In the nineteenth-century French context, many of the women attached to the Saint-Simonian movement were excluded by the definition proposed by Dimand et al. (2000, xvii), as they were considered activists and not economists per se, unless they published in revues or journals associated with economic thought at the time. This is the case of Daubié, as she published numerous articles in the Journal des économistes and as she adopted a systematic economic gaze. Royer’s inclusion has generated little debate since she not only published many papers in economic journals, but she also received a price for a treatise on taxation.

83The historical methodology provided by Dimand et al. (2000) anchors actors in their context, historicizing the definition of economics. This implies including people whose writings were recognized as being in the field of economics in their time. The specificity of the French economic school must be described to understand the position of Tristan, Daubié and Royer in the field of economics. After Jean-Baptiste Say’s death in 1832, shortly after the liberal Revolution of 1830, economics emerged as a force in political and scientific debate; this liberal movement was dedicated to the pursuit of Say’s legacy in French political economy (Le Van-Lemesle, 2004, 25). The Société d’économie politique, created in 1842 by Horace Say (Jean-Baptiste Say’s son) and other disciples established the framework for economic debate on free trade. After the death of Horace Say, Léon Say (his son) continued in this vein with collaborators such as Paul Leroy Beaulieu, Jules Simon and Louis Wolowski. In this context, only liberal thinkers were called “economists” while socialists were considered revolutionaries or reformers (Breton, 1985). This explains why Fourier and Proudhon are usually classified as utopian socialists but not as economists. This also explains, at least partially, the exclusion of Tristan’s contributions from the field of economics, as her posture placed her too firmly within a socialist “utopian” nexus. The situation is different for Daubié and Royer as they were strongly associated with the liberal school, as testified by their numerous publications in the Journal des économistes or other publications promoted by the liberal publisher Guillaumin, as well as their connection with the Société d’économie politique de Paris. For Dimand et al. (2000), this proximity justifies their inclusion as economists.

  • 34 With some exceptions, for instance François Etner and Claire Silvant’s recent synthesis on the hist (...)

84An explanation for the exclusion of Royer and Daubié may lie in the posterity of the French liberal school itself. Indeed, contemporary mainstream handbooks of the history of economic thought usually do not include the contributions of this heterogeneous group of French political economists.34 In anglophone countries, economics were progressively dominated by the neoclassical school inherited from key contributions such as the Principles of Political economy by J.S. Mill (1848) and those by Marshall (1884). In France, however, such internal coherence did not exist among political economists whose discussions covered methodological, ideological, and philosophical issues as well as contemporary social and political debates (Dockès et al., 2000). Controversies raged on such topics as the use of history (Gislain, 2000) or mathematics to enrich theoretical analysis (Breton, 1992); in political terms, they disagreed on the role of the state regarding the living conditions of the working class (Breton and Lutfalla, 1990). The Société d’économie politique’s contribution to scientific debate was rarely conceptual or perceived as such, and it failed to address the theoretical issues that were discussed in Europe and the USA at the time (Breton, 2001). As a result, many historians of economic thought do not include the French liberal school in their analysis, arguing for its minimal contribution to the conceptualization of the discipline. When mentioned, it is often denigrated for its lack of coherence and its inability to produce a unified analytical framework, as Breton has argued (Breton, 1985; 2001). This might explain, at least partly, the oversight as economist of Daubié and Royer, alongside such figures as Paul Leroy Beaulieu or Jules Simon.

85The specific issue of “women and education and work” addressed by Tristan, Daubié and Royer, and their role as pioneers have attracted more attention in feminist scholarship than in economics. Tristan’s social activism, at a moment when economic thought was only very loosely organized, has resulted in a plethora of studies that examine her writings through the lens of social and feminist engagement. Daubié’s achievement passing the baccalaureate, obtaining a university degree, and studying for a doctorate have received far more attention than her association with the economists publishing the Journal des économistes and the Économiste français. Finally, Royer’s recognition is primarily in anthropology, thanks to her translation of Darwin.

86All three contributed to the economic debates of their time while promoting women’s rights specifically and it is this contribution that historians of women and gender have tended to emphasize. But each of them also produced an original analysis of economic issues and contributed to the development of French economic debates. They were well known, published, and recognized as thinkers of economic issues. Nevertheless, their scientific contribution to economic thought has been minimized until recently. This paper seeks not only to bring their scholarship into discussions about the history of economic thought, but also to query the gender biases that continue to obscure our understanding of how women economists contributed to the debates of their time.

We are very grateful to the organizers of the workshop Women, Economics and History. Diversity within Europe, and to the two anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of the first version of the paper and for their insightful comments.

Haut de page


Agulhon, Maurice and Stéphane Michaud (eds). 1994. Flora Tristan, George Sand, Pauline Roland. Les femmes et l’invention d’une nouvelle morale 1830-1848. Paris: Créaphis editions.

André-Durupt, Véronique. 2018. La première “bachelier” de France, Julie-Victoire Daubié. 2nd revised edition, Fontenoy-le-Château: les Amis du Vieux Fontenoy.

Audier, Serge. 2017. La société écologique et ses ennemis. Pour une histoire alternative de l’émancipation. Paris: Éditions La Découverte.

Backhaus, Jürgen (ed.). 2012. Handbook of the History of Economic Thought. Insights on the Founders of Modern Economics. New York: Springer.

Backhouse, Roger E. 1985. History of Modern Economic Analysis. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Baudrillart, Henri. 1863. Chronique économique. Conférences de Mademoiselle Daubié sur la condition des femmes. Journal des économistes. March, 539-544.

Bédarida, François. [1978] 2003. Flora Tristan. Promenades dans Londres ou L’aristocratie et les prolétaires anglais. Commented edition. Paris: Éditions la Découverte.

Bernardini, Jean-Marc. 1997. Le darwinisme social en France (1859-1918) : Fascination et rejet d’une idéologie. Paris: CNRS éditions.

Bland, Caroline and Máire Cross. 2004. Gender and Politics in the Age of Letter-writing, 1750-2000. London: Routledge.

Blaug, Mark. 1986. Economic History and the History of Economics. New York: New York University Press.

Blomberg, Gisela. 1998. Flora Tristan: A Predecessor of Marx and Engels. Nature, Society, and Thought. A Journal of Dialectical and Historical Materialism, 11(1): 5-16.

Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith. 1859. Women and Work. New York: C.S. Francis & Co.

Boiteau, Paul. 1864. IV. Théorie de l’impôt ou de la dîme sociale par Mlle Clémence-Auguste Royer Compte rendu par M. Paul Boiteau. Journal des économistes, 2e série, XLI(15 February): 228-239.

Boiteau, Paul. 1865. Les finances de la ville de Paris. Paris: Librairie de Guillaumin et Cie.

Boiteau, Paul. 1866. Fortune publique et finances de la France. Tome 1, Vol. 2. Paris: Librairie de Guillaumin et Cie.

Breton, Yves. 1985. Les économistes, le pouvoir politique et l’ordre social en France en 1830 et 1851. Histoire, économie et société, 4(2): 233-252.

Breton, Yves. 1992. L’économie politique et les mathématiques en France 1800-1940. Histoire & Mesure, 7(1/2): 25-52.

Breton, Yves. 2001, The Société d’Economie Politique de Paris (1842-1914). In Massimo M. Angello and Marco E.L. Guidi (eds), The Spread of Political Economy and the Professionalisation of Economists. Economic Societies in Europe, America and Japan in the Nineteenth Century. London: Routledge, 53-69.

Breton, Yves and Michel Lutfalla (eds). 1991. L’économie politique en France au XIXe siècle. Paris: Economica.

Brion, Hélène. 1919. Flora Tristan : la vraie fondatrice de l’Internationale. Paris: Société d’édition et de librairie de l’Avenir social.

Bulger, Ramonde. 1992. Lettres à Julie Victoire Daubié (1824-1874). La première bachelière de France et son temps. New York: Peter Lang.

Christen-Lécuyer, Carole. 2005. La mesure de l’efficacité sociale des caisses d’épargne françaises au xixsiècle. Histoire & mesure, 20(3/4).

Coffin, Judith. 1996. The Politics of Women’s Work: The Paris Garment Trades, 1750–1915. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Cross, Máire and Tim Gray. 1992. The Feminism of Flora Tristan. Oxford and Providence: Berg.

Cross, Máire Fedelma. 2020. In the Footsteps of Flora Tristan. A Political Biography. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Delalande, Nicolas. 2011. Les batailles de l’impôt. Consentement et résistances de 1789 à nos jours. Paris: Seuil.

Daubié, Julie-Victoire. [1866] 1992. La Femme pauvre au dix-neuvième siècle. Première partie : Condition économique. Vol. I. Paris: Côté-femmes. Foreword by Michelle Perrot. Preface by Agnès Thiercé.

Daubié, Julie-Victoire. 1869-1870. La Femme pauvre au dix-neuvième siècle. Paris: Ernest Thorin.

Daubié, Julie-Victoire. [1870] 1993. La Femme pauvre au dix-neuvième siècle. Condition Professionnelle. Vol. 3. Paris: Côté-femmes.

Dimand, Mary Ann, Robert W. Dimand, and Evelyn L. Forget. 1995. Women of Value. Feminist Essays on the History of Women in Economics. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.

Dimand, Robert W., Mary Ann Dimand, and Evelyn L. Forget. 2000. A Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dockès, Pierre, Ludovic Frobert, Gérard Klotz, Jean-Pierre Potier and André Tiran. 2000. Les traditions économiques françaises 1848-1939. Paris: CNRS Editions.

Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro. 1922. Equal Pay to Men and Women for Equal Work. The Economic Journal, 32(128): 431-457.

Engels, Friedrich. [1884] 1974. L’origine de la famille, de la propriété privée et de l’État. Paris: Éditions sociales.

Ernot, Isabelle. 2007. L’histoire des femmes et ses premières historiennes (XIXe-début XXe siècle). Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 16(1): 165-194.

Etner, François and Claire Silvant, 2017. Histoire de la pensée économique en France. Depuis 1789. Paris: Economica.

Fawcett, Millicent. G. 1918. Equal Pay for Equal Work. The Economic Journal, 28(109): 1-6.

Ferber, Marianne A. 1997. Review of Women of Value. Feminist Essays on the History of Women in Economics, edited by Mary Ann Dimand, Robert W. Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 4(2): 340-343.

Fraisse, Geneviève. 1983. Clémence Royer (1830-1902), lecture de Darwin et regard féministe. Raison présente, 67: 87-103.

Fraisse, Geneviève. [1984] 2002. Clémence Royer : philosophe et femme de sciences. Paris: Éditions la Découverte.

Gallois, Nicolas. 2011. L’école française contre Léon Walras, économiste hétérodoxe. L’économie politique, Alternatives économiques, 51(3): 7-32.

Garnier, Joseph. 1862. Annales de la société d’économie politique. Séance du 5 juillet.

Gislain Jean-Jacques. 2000. Le premier débat sur la « méthode historique » (1857-1868) : Louis Wolowski et Léonce de Lavergne. In Pierre Dockès, Ludovic Frobert, Gérard Klotz, Jean-Pierre Potier and André Tiran (eds), Les traditions économiques françaises 1848-1939. Paris: CNRS Éditions, 101-113.

Grogan, Susan. 1992. French Socialism and Sexual Difference. Women and the New Society, 1803-1844. London: Macmillan.

Grogan, Susan. 1998. Flora Tristan. Life-Stories. London: Routledge.

Harlor, Thilda. 1954. Clémence Royer : une savante. Revue des Deux Mondes, October, 525-535.

Harvey, Joy Dorothy. 1977. Almost a Man of Genius: Clémence Royer, Feminism, and Nineteenth-Century Science. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Hause, Steven. 1987. Hubertine Auclert: The French Suffragette. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Jeanmichel, Lucien. 1993. Arlès-Dufour, un Saint-Simonien à Lyon. Lyon: Éditions lyonnaises d'art et d’histoire.

Jourdan, Alfred. 1887. De l’enseignement de l’économie politique. Revue d’économie politique, 1(1): 3-31.

Krulic, Brigitte. 2022. Flora Tristan, Biography. Paris: Gallimard.

Larousse, Pierre. 1870. Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXe siècle : français, historique, géographie, mythologique, bibliographique. Vol. 6. Paris: Administration du Grand Dictionnaire Universel.

Le Merrer, Pascal. 2011. L’affirmation de l’économie comme discipline scientifique : une histoire française particulière. Tracés. Revue de Sciences humaines, Hors-série n°11, 163-174.

Le Van Lemesle, Lucette. 1985. Guillaumin, éditeur d'économie politique 1801-1864. Revue d'économie politique, 95(2) :134-149.

Le Van-Lemesle, Lucette. 2004. Le Juste ou le Riche. L’enseignement de l’économie politique, 1815-1950. Paris : Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France.

Levasseur, Émile. 1875. Nécrologie. Journal des économistes, 1 May, 154-156.

Lutfalla, Michel. 1976. Louis Wolowski ou le libéralisme positif. Revue d’histoire économique et sociale, 54(2): 169-184.

Madden, Janice F. 1972. The Development of Economic Thought on the “Woman Problem”. Review of Radical Political Economics, 4(3): 21-38.

Madden, Kirsten K., and Robert W. Dimand (eds). 2018. The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women’s Economic Thought. Routledge International Handbook. London: Routledge.

Madden, Kirsten K., Janet A. Seiz, and Michèle Pujol. 2004. A Bibliography of Female Economic Thought to 1940. London: Routledge.

Martin, Olivier. 2020. L’empire des chiffres. Une sociologie de la quantification. Paris: Armand Colin.

Matasci, Damiano. 2015. L’école républicaine et l’étranger. Une histoire internationale des réformes scolaires en France, 1870-1914. Lyon: ENS Éditions.

Meynieu Mary. 1859. Observations sur l’économie politique, à propos du manuel de M. Baudrillart. Journal des économistes, 65: 13.

Michaud, Stéphane (ed.). 1986. Un fabuleux destin : Flora Tristan. Actes du 1er colloque international Flora Tristan, Dijon, 3 et 4 mai 1984. Dijon: Editions universitaires de Dijon.

Moufflet, André. 1910. L’œuvre de Clémence Royer. Revue internationale de sociologie, 18(10) : 658-693.

Musso, Pierre. 1999. Saint-Simon et le saint-simonisme. Que sais-je ? Paris: PUF.

Pavard, Bibia, Florence Rochefor, and Michelle Zancarini-Fournel. 2020. Ne nous libérez pas, on s’en charge. Une histoire des féminismes de 1789 à nos jours. Paris: Éditions de la Découverte.

Périvier, Hélène. 2020. L’économie féministe. Pourquoi l’économie a besoin du féminisme et vice versa. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.

Périvier, Hélène and Rebecca Rogers. 2019. Women and the Language of Statistics in Late-Nineteenth Century France: Reading the Graphs of Madame Pégard. French Politics, Culture and Society, 37(3): 1-26.

Polkinghorn Bette and Dorothy Lampen Thomson. 1998. Adam Smith’s Daughters: Eight Prominent Women Economists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.

Pratelle, Aristide. 1918. Clémence Royer. Notice biographique. Revue anthropologique, 28: 263-276.

Puech, Jules-Louis. 1925a. La vie et l’œuvre de Flora Tristan, 1803-1844. Paris: Marcel Rivière.

Puech, Jules-Louis. 1925b. Flora Tristan et le Saint-Simonisme. Revue d’histoire économique et sociale, 13(2): 207-215.

Pujol, Michèle A. 1995. Into the Margin! In Edith Kuiper and Sap Jolande (eds), Out of the Margin. Feminist Perspective in Economics. London: Routledge, 17-34.

Pujol, Michèle A. [1992] 1998. Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Early Economic Thought. Aldershot: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Rogers, Rebecca. 2005. From the Salon to the Schoolroom: Educating Bourgeois Girls in Nineteenth-Century France. University Park: Penn State University Press.

Rouxel, A. 1903. Bulletin de la Société d’économie politique, 137-147.

Royer, Clémence. 1862. Théorie de l’impôt, ou La dîme sociale. 2 vol. Paris: Guillaumin.

Royer, Clémence. 1869. Origine de l’homme et des sociétés. Paris: Guillaumin.

Royer, Clémence. 1888. L’abolition de l’esclavage au Brésil, Le journal des économistes, 4e série, 63(7): 17-33.

Rubel, Maximilien. [1946] 2013. Flora Tristan et Karl Marx. Paris: Critique sociale.

Scott, Joan W. 1988. ‘L’Ouvrière ! mot impie, sordide…’ Women Workers in the Discourse of French Political Economy, 1840–1860. In Joan Scott, Gender and the Politics of History. New York: Columbia University Press, 139-163.

Seiz, Janet A., 1993, Feminism and the History of Economic Thought. History of Political Economy, 25(1): 185-201.

Seiz, Janet A. 2003. Feminist Economics. In Warren J. Samuels, Jeff E. Biddle, and John B. Davis (eds), A Companion of the History of Economic Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 454-562.

Shackelford, Jean. 2000. Flora Tristan. In Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand, and Evelyn L. Forget (eds), A Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 520.

Sigot, Nathalie. 2010. Utility and Justice: French Liberal Economists in the 19th Century. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 17(4): 759-792.

Silvant, Claire. 2010. Fiscalité et calcul économique au milieu du XIXe siècle français. Revue d’économie politique, 120(6): 1015-1034.

Silvant, Claire. 2019. Dette publique et financement de l’État chez les économistes français (1840-1900). Œconomia – History, Methodology, Philosophy, 9(4): 763-795.

Smith, Adam. 1776. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan.

Smith, Bonnie. 1998. The Gender of History. Men, Women, and Historical Practice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Taylor Mill, Harriet. 1851. The Enfranchisement of Women. London: Westminster & Foreign Quarterly Review.

Thiercé, Agnès. 1993. Julie-Victoire Daubié, première bachelière de France. De la condition économique, morale et politique de la femme. Bulletin du Centre Pierre Léon d’histoire économique et sociale, 2-3: 53-62.

Thiercé, Agnès. 1999. La pauvreté laborieuse au XIXème siècle vue par Julie-Victoire Daubié. Travail, genre et sociétés, 1(1): 119-128.

Thomson, Dorothy Lampen. 1973. Adam Smith’s Daughters: Eight Prominent Women Economists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. New York: Exposition Press.

Topolov, Christian. Laboratoires du nouveau siècle. La nébuleuse réformatrice et ses réseaux en France. 1880-1914. Paris: Éditions de l’EHESS.

Tristan, Flora. [1844] 1986. Union ouvrière, suivie de lettres de Flora Tristan. Edition prepared by Daniel Armogathe and Jacques Grandjonc. Paris: des femmes.

Tristan, Flora. 2003. Flora Tristan, la paria et son rêve. Correspondance établie par Stéphane Michaud. Paris : Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Verneau, René. 1902. Discours aux obsèques de Madame Clémence Royer. Bulletins et memoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, 5e série, 3: 75-82.

Haut de page


We do not list here all the publications by Tristan, Daubié and Royer, but only those related to the economic debate.

1. Flora Tristan’s Publications

1835 Nécessité de faire un bon accueil aux femmes étrangères, Paris : Delaunay.

[1838] 1979 Pérégrinations d’une paria (1833-1834), Paris: Arthus Bertrand. Réédition Paris : Maspéro/La Découverte.

[1840/42] 1978 Promenades dans Londres, Paris, London. Reedition by François Bédarida, Paris : Maspéro.

[1843/44/44] 1986 Union Ouvrière, 1st ed; Paris: Edition populaire, Prévot Libraire; 2nd ed. Paris Imprimerie de Worms; 3rd ed. Lyon, Imprimerie de C. Rey. Réedition by Daniel Armogathe and Jacques Grandjonc. Paris : des femmes.

[1973] 1980 Le Tour de France. Journal 1843-44. Etat actuel de la classe ouvrière sous l’aspect moral, intellectuel et materiel. 2 vol. Texte et notes par Jules-L. Puech. Paris : Editions de la Tête de Feuilles. Réédition par Stéphane Michaud. Paris : Maspéro

2. Julie Daubié’s Publications

Journal des économistes. Revue de la science économique et de la statistique, 2e série.

1862 04 [vol. 34, n°6]: Quels moyens de subsistance ont les femmes ? Le Travail Manuel (1re partie)

1863 05 [vol. 38, n°510

1863 07 [vol. 39, n°7]: fin

1864 07 [vol. 43, n°7] Cause de paupérisme pour la femme (I)

1863 09 [vol. 43, N°9] suite et fin

1865 06 [vol. 46, N°6] De l’enseignement secondaire pour les femmes (382-402)

1865 09 [vol. 47, N°9] De l’enseignement secondaire pour les femmes –II (384-403)

1865 12 [vol. 47, N°12] De l’enseignement secondaire pour les femmes –fin (408-427)

L’économiste Français

1864 09 15, n°85 Les communes rurales à propos de la commune modèle

1864 12 15, n°98 Les communes rurales. Instruction et éducation populaire

1864 12 22, n°99 Les communes rurales, Fin

1865 06 08, n°125 Les colonies maternelles—Réformes légales et sociales

1866 06 18, n°178 Le chômage hebdomadaire

1866 07 26, n°176 A propos des omnibus. La part des femmes

1866 02 05, n°182 Encore à propos des omnibus/ La part des femmes

1869 02 05, n°283 Le progrès féminin

1869 02 20, n°284 L’inégalité de l’enseignement primaire pour les deux sexes-I.

1869 03 07, n°285 Fin

1869 05 09, n°289 Le travail des femmes dans les mines. L’Angleterre, la Belgique, la France

1870 05 05, n°313 L’agitation anglaise au sujet de la prostitution-I.

1870 06 20, n°316 L’agitation anglaise au sujet de la prostitution-II.

1870 07 05, n°317 L’agitation anglaise au sujet de la prostitution-Fin

1866 La femme pauvre au dix-neuvième siècle. Paris : E. Guillaumin.

1869-70. La femme pauvre au dix-neuvième siècle. 3 volumes. 2e edition. Paris : E. Thorin. [Reedition in 3 volumes with preface by Agnès Thiercé and Avant-propos by Michelle Perrot, Paris: Côté-femmes, 1992-1993]

3. Clémence Royer’s Publications

For a complete list of her publications see Geneviève Fraisse, [1985] 2002, 167-185).

1862. Théorie de l’impôt, ou La dîme sociale. 2 vol. Paris : Guillaumin.

1869. Origine de l’homme et des sociétés. Paris : Guillaumin.

1892 Nouveau dictionnaire d’économie politique, publié par Léon Say et Joseph Chailley. Paris : Guillaumin (articles on Pierre Leroux, positivism, Proudhon, Robertus-Jagetzow, Rousseau, Saint-Simon and Villermé

Journal des économistes. Revue de la science économique et de la statistique, 2e série.

1861 08, vol. 31, n°8: Des conclusions de la science fiscale (1re partie)

1861 12, vol. 32, n°12: suite et fin

1862 03, vol. 33, n°3: Lettre à M. Joseph Garnier

1862 10, vol. 36, n°10: Congrès de l’association internationale pour le progrès des sciences sociales

1862 12, vol. 36, n°12 : Des emprunts et des contributions de salut public

1863 04, vol. 38, n°4 : Des emprunts et des contributions de salut public (suite)

1863 08, vol. 39, n°8 : Des emprunts et des contributions de salut public (suite)

1863 10, vol. 40, n°10 : Congrès international des sciences sociales, 2e session

1863 11, vol. 40, n°11 : Congrès international des sciences sociales, 2e session (suite et fin)

1864 06, vol. 42, n°6 : Des emprunts ou des contributions de salut public (suite et fin)

1865 10, vol. 48, n°10 : De quelques abus dans le libre échange des services et des moyens d’y remédier

1867 03, vol. 50, n°3 : Une industrie de femmes ou l’industrie de la paille en Italie

1867 11, vol. 50, n°11 : La spécialité de l’impôt considéré au point de vue de l’échange ; lettre de Clémence Royer à la rédaction.

1869 03, vol. 52, n°3 : moyens d’améliorer le sort des classes ouvrières

1869 09, vol. 52, n°9 : De la protection des richesses naturelles, I

1869 12, vol. 53, n°12 : De la protection des richesses naturelles, II

1870 12, vol. 54, n°12 : Etude sur la justice et les inégalités sociales

1871 04, vol. 54, n°4 : Les impôts nouveaux et la dîme sociale : lettre à M. Le rédacteur en chef Joseph Garnier,

1874 09, vol. 57, n°9 : Du percement de l’isthme américain, I

1875 01, vol. 58, n°1 : Du percement de l’isthme américain, II

1888 07, vol. 63, n°7 : L’abolition de l’esclavage au Brésil

Haut de page


1 The Handbook of the History of Economic Thought, Insights on the Founders of Modern Economics, edited by Jurgen Backhaus (2012) does not mention female economists, not even such well known figures as Harriet Taylor (despite a chapter on John Stuart Mill).

2 Mark Blaug mentions Harriett Martineau and Janet Marcet in footnotes in his book, Economic History and the History of Economics, 1986 (178; 281), as does Roger Backhouse in History of Modern Economic Analysis (1985).

3 The fourth woman quoted is Mary Meynieu Coates (1798-1876).

4 Most of the early socialists rejected the Catholic church but developed arguments about solidarity and collective concerns that mobilized a religious vocabulary. This is the case in the writings of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Enfantin, Leroux and, to some extent, Proudhon.

5 This was ultimately published in 1973 by the Editions Tête de Feuilles in 1973 in a collection “Archives et documents” with a preface by Michel Collinet and the annotations of Jules Puech. Since then, it has been republished several times, including by Stéphane Michaud in 1980, by the editors Indigo and côté-femmes in 2001; in 2002 an annotated and translated English version was published by Maire Cross. Michelle Audin is currently preparing yet another edition for Libertalia.

6 Tristan died before the establishment of national workshops during the 1848 revolution that sought to guarantee the right to work.

7 Tristan spoke directly to the industrial and artisanal working classes of her period, but her vision of a united working class, like Daubié after her, included all those without property, including intellectuals. (Michaud, 1986, 33)

8 Carole Christen-Lecuyer notes that the daily salaries of male workers oscillated between 1,41 and 3,07 francs over the course of the July Monarchy. (Christen-Lecuyer, 2005).

9 Cross and Gray neatly summarize the feminist achievement of this text: “By identifying the root cause of sexual inegalitarianism in the economic structure of capitalist society, she concluded that no real improvement in the position of women in society could be expected until the underlying restrictions on their financial independence (restrictions deeply embedded in the patriarchal family and the legal arrangements for property ownership) were removed.” (Cross and Gray, 1992, 51)

10 See the 4th section of this article for further analysis of her legacy.

11 Union ouvrière had three different editions between 1843 and 1844. For details concerning the number of volumes printed—well over 10 000 copies—and sold see Armogathe’s introduction (Tristan, 1986, 19-23).

12 Arnold Ruge, coeditor with Marx of the Deutsche-Französische Jahrbücher, met her at least twice in her salon (Blomberg, 1998, 5).

13 La Sainte Famille ou la critique de la critique conte Bruno Bauer et consort, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1845).

14 The latter was reissued in 1870 in a more complete version after receiving an honorable mention at the Universal exhibition of 1867. In particular, she enriched her analysis adding an analysis of women’s moral and professional conditions.

15 Joan Wallach Scott analyzes Daubié’s text alongside that of Jule Simon’s book L’ouvrière (1860), in the context of the debate about working-class women; her interest is in the gendered effects of these debates in political economy while suggesting the specific contribution of Daubié’s interventions in the field. (Scott, 1988) For a perspective on women’s integration into the field of economics later in the century, see Nathalie Sigot’s article in this issue.

16 Between 1855 and 1864 Henri Baudrillart, a liberal economist directed the Journal des économistes. In 1863 as member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques and inspector-general of public libraries, he succeeded Joseph Garnier as professor of political economy at the École des Ponts et Chaussées in 1881.

17 See Annex 2 with the list of Daubié’s publications.

18 It should be noted that in the book, La femme pauvre, Daubié moved this section on the causes of pauperism to the beginning of her study, as a way of setting a broader canvas to her investigation of contemporary conditions.

19 This issue of the use of comparisons in the emerging social sciences deserves an analysis on its own. In the field of education, see Matasci (2015).

20 These proposals addressed issues relating to the civil code, the liberty of the press, the “emancipation of wives” (art. 8), equal access to schools for girls and boys, the equal distribution of public jobs based on merit and aptitude, the liberty of higher education, decentralization, the dissolution of a permanent army, etc. (Daubié, 1993, 91-92).

21 For information about the liberal and Saint-Simonian influences on French economic and intellectual life in the Second Empire see Musso (1999).

22 Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, Fonds Julie-Victoire Daubié, lettres remises par Laure Reuchsel. For an analysis of these letters, see Bulger (1992).

23 Delbruck is identified in Pierre Larousse’s Grand Dictionnaire universel as an « economist ». (Larousse, 1870, 346)

24 Paul Boiteau was a liberal economist and maître des requêtes au Conseil d’Etat. In 1865 and 1866, he published two books dedicated to public finance with a section to the taxation issue. His book is not an economic analysis of public finance, but a precise description of the French system since the Revolution, and some propositions to improve the system.

25 The final two essays received a special mention.

26 « Le congrès international de l’impôt : ses travaux et ses débats », Le nouvel économiste, 25 août 1860, 10 septembre 1860, 25 septembre 1860.

27 An expression attributed to the philosopher Ernest Renan, see Thilda Harlor (1954, 525).

28 Paul Leroy-Beaulieu pursued this emphasis on working women and women’s labor in his book Travail des femmes au XIXe siècle (1873), without however acknowledging in his references her contribution to the debate. On the contrary, his (rare) footnotes highlighted the scholarship of Levasseur, particularly his Histoire des classes ouvrières en France depuis la Révolution jusqu'à nos jours, (1867. It should be noted as well that Levasseur did not cite Daubié’s work either in this book.

29 Revue des principales publications économiques en langue française.

30 Bulletin de la Société d’économie politique, octobre 1903, p. 147-137.

31 Jules Simon’s contribution is mentioned in the items “Règlementation du travail”, “Industrie”, and “Thiers”.

32 This process has been well documented for the field of history, where a similar process is apparent: women wrote history but were not part of the process of institutionalization of the discipline (see Smith, 1998; Ernot, 2007)

33 See Lechapelain and Baijot (this issue) on women entrepreneurs.

34 With some exceptions, for instance François Etner and Claire Silvant’s recent synthesis on the history of French economic thought since the Revolution. In the section devoted to the history of taxation in France, they acknowledge Clémence Royer’s contribution, as well as noting that she is the only female economist whose work they consider: Clémence-Auguste Royer est une autre économiste en faveur de l’impôt progressif, la première femme que nous citons dans ce livre et presque la seule (Etner and Silvant, 2017, 203).

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Hélène Périvier et Rebecca Rogers, « Writing Women Back into the History of French Economic Thought: The Case of Flora Tristan, Julie-Victoire Daubié and Clémence Royer »Œconomia, 12-3 | 2022, 443-482.

Référence électronique

Hélène Périvier et Rebecca Rogers, « Writing Women Back into the History of French Economic Thought: The Case of Flora Tristan, Julie-Victoire Daubié and Clémence Royer »Œconomia [En ligne], 12-3 | 2022, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2022, consulté le 24 juillet 2024. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Hélène Périvier

OFCE Sciences Po Paris,

Rebecca Rogers

Université de Paris, Cerlis, CNRS,

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search