Sometimes historians are reluctant to study theorists who have not clearly shaped the course of events of their age. This may be one reason for the scholarly neglect of Etta Palm d’Aelders (1743-1799) who, despite Judith Vega’s attempts to rectify the situation, remains a little-known contributor to the revolutionary debates over women’s rights.1 Another reason could be that she was a Dutch operating in France. Despite her adventurous life and her relevant speeches to the Société des amis de la vérité and the National Assembly, she plays a cameo part in accounts of the French Revolution, if she appears at all, and the content of her publications is rarely discussed in detail.2 Yet like the somewhat better-studied

Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793), Marie Jodin, and Louise-Félicité KeralioRobert (1758-1821), she was one of those who attempted to extend the logic of human rights to women. A closer look at her works, and at the attack on her probity by Louise Keralio-Robert, reveals more clearly the female predicament in the French revolutionary agenda; and it shows the limits to the notion of female citizenship that republican women were able to develop during the early years of the Revolution.