The history of modern feminist political theories is often framed in terms of the already existing theories of a number of radical nineteenth-century men philosophers such as James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Charles Fourier, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. My argument takes issue with this way of framing feminist political theory by demonstrating that it rests on a derivation that remains squarely within the logic of malestream political theory. Each of these philosophers made use of a particular discursive trope that linked the idea of women's emancipation with the idea of social progress. I argue that this trope reproduced the masculinist signification and symbolism inherent in their particular political philosophies. I argue for a more positive, less masculinist, account of the history of feminist political thought.