The history of political philosophy, as it is currently taught, is dominated by texts authored by men. This is as true for the period of the Enlightenment as it is for earlier centuries. It is as true of the ‘new intellectual history’ as it is of the old.1 The old intellectual history tended to study the works of great men independently of social context. During the second half of the twentieth century the traditional study of ‘great thinkers’ was overtaken by the history of social movements and economic transformations, which minimized the influence of ideas and had the advantage of encouraging research into women and other marginalized groups. While this research was initially inspired by the rise of sociology and Marxism, by the 1970s the adequacy of traditional analyses of power, and of the epistemological bases of knowledge in general, was being challenged by poststructuralism and post-modernism. However, this development did nothing to reinstate the study of individual texts or thinkers. If anything, the claimed ‘death of the author’ reinforced the tendency to overlook the ideas of individual early modern and Enlightenment women. The complex and interconnected emergence of social history, post-modernism, and women’s history resulted in research on women as social actors and in the study of general features of gendered discourse; but it did little to encourage the examination of the texts of individual women as interlocutors in the development of ideas.2 As a consequence, apart from the history of feminism, women’s history has tended to ignore women’s contribution to the history of ideas in general.