Gender of the counter-revolution during the nineteenth century

Bordalo Pinheiro, « Revolta da Maria da Fonte » (gravure), dans A Ilustração, 1846, v. II, p. 71.Bordalo Pinheiro, “Revolta da Maria da Fonte” (engraving), in A Ilustração, 1846, v. II, p. 71.


The role of women in the counter-revolution during the nineteenth century is unexpected in light of the gendered conception of social relations supported by this political family. It defended a society inspired by the Ancien Régime, one that was based on Catholicism and monarchy, as well as traditionalist social frameworks and the upholding of a patriarchal model. Aside from their importance on a symbolic level through dynastic, religious, or national incarnations, counter-revolutionary women enjoyed a fairly large freedom of action that appeared in various domains. While a number of these activities fell within the domains to which women were traditionally confined—the family, care activities, etc.—they also intervened in multiple ways on the political scene by taking up arms, or through petitions or fundraising. In the end, the counter-revolution paradoxically provided women with the capacity to act, with its traces visible during the twentieth century in the conservative and Catholic movements that were the heirs to the counter-revolution.