This chapter delves into the serious reservations regarding the choices Wollstonecraft, Imlay, and Godwin made, which often co-existed with admiration for their willingness to make choices. After all, Mary Hays argued, revolution was a long-term affair that depended on exceptional individuals risking everything to promote reform. “Vigorous minds” were animated by “a liberal curiosity” that “urges them to quit beaten paths, to explore untried ways, to burst the fetters of prescription, and to acquire wisdom by an individual experience.” In the end, Hays argued, “all great changes and improvements in society” originated with “speculative and enterprising spirits.” Wollstonecraft's ambition had been “the emancipation of her own sex,” and that cause would not die because she had violated social convention.
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