Single Mothers of Invention

Mary held a very 21st century view of marriage despite the constant bombardment of 18th century social conventions. To her, marriage was fine as long as the husband did not take an unfair advantage of his superior legal position and the wife did not succumb to the pressures of society and become a nonentity. Mary also believed that people did not have to marry to be happy- two people who felt sure of their places in the world were entitled to live together without the institution of marriage and rear their children outside of wedlock. she believed, too, that education was the key to set women free. Despite her beliefs about marriage, Mary did marry right before her next daughter was born to prevent her from being subjected to the ever-present prejudice. On September 9, 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft died shortly after giving birth to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.

Margaret Sanger (1878-1966)

Many people know that Margaret Sanger was more than a pioneer in contraception education by bringing birth control to America, but few realize that she raised her children alone while educating American women.

In a cramped apartment, Margaret Sanger nursed a poor mother back to health after she tried to perform a home abortion. The women and her husband could not afford another child. When she was well, the woman begged for some form of protection against pregnancy, but Margaret left her that day even though she was harboring some doubts.

About three months later, the woman attempted another home abortion, but did not survive. After her death, Sanger threw her medical bag against the wall and swore she would live the rest of her life educating women about contraception.

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