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Flora Tristan, Femminist and Socialist, 1975, Obverse
Photo by John Birks

Obverse: FLORA TRISTAN 1803-1844

PIONNIER DU MOUVEMENT FEMINISTE (Pioneer in the Feminist Movement)

APOTRE DU SOCIALISME OUVRIER (Apostle of Socialism Worker)

Signed on obverse: LAGRIFFOUL

Reverse: DIEU FRANCHISE LIBERTE (God, Honesty, Liberty)

DROIT AU TRAVAIL (Right to Work)

UNION OUVRIERE (Workers Movement; name of her book)

Rim: BRONZE 1975 'cornucopia' (Monnaie de Paris)

Flora Tristan became active in the feminist movement in the mid 1830s, arguing for divorce and against gender constraints. She saw women as prostituted to marriage and believed that it was only through divorce that the morality of France could rise. After all, the "women's ignorance, hostility toward their husbands, or brutality toward their children [was] not their fault but that of society." As her writings became more published, she saw herself as "the woman messiah," who alone would bring about freedom to women and the working class. By the early 1840s, Tristan redirected her writing away from simply women issues and moved towards the rights of all working class Parisians. She claimed to be the first socialist writer to speak to the workers rather than simply about them. Her new goal was to abolish the death penalty and raise the lifestyles of the working class, but she didn't forget about freeing the women. In 1843 she wrote L'Union Ouvriere (the worker's movement). It was addressed to the working men of France but within it, addressed issues of women's emancipation.

Tristan was a member of the working class. Her father's land and money had been confiscated after his death when she was four years old and due to some legal technicalities, she was declared illegitimate. She worked in a lithograph workshop up until she married her boss and soon found herself enslaved in marriage. A few years later she escaped from her marriage but was only granted a legal separation after her husband shot her. In 1844, she began touring around France in the hopes of educating the working people but fell ill and died in the process. Four years after her death, a monument was erected at her grave sight and 8,000 people came to honor her.
In the life of the workers, woman is everything. She is their providence. If she is missing, everything is missing. It is woman who makes or breaks a home. ... As a mother, she influences man during his childhood; it is from her and only her that he draws his first notions of this science so important to acquire, the science of life....As a sweetheart, she influences him during his entire youth. ...As a wife, she influences him during three-fourths of his life.--Lastly, as a daughter, she influences him in his old age. -Flora Tristan

Lagriffoul, Flora Tristan-obv-small~0.jpg Lagriffoul, Flora Tristan-rev-small-~0.jpg Lagriffoul, Pierre Bertrand-combo.jpg