In A Vindication of the Rights of Men, Mary Wollstonecraft takes aim at Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, a text that attempts to preempt political disease by pointing out the deleterious invasiveness of the democratic ideals fostered by the French Revolution. Burke’s Reflections interweaves analogical and literal versions of concepts like health, contagion, and organic growth, while Wollstonecraft breaks almost completely with a purely analogical connection between the body of the individual and the body of the state, by emphasizing the material implications of health at various levels of political society. In what might be properly termed her “medico-politics,” Wollstonecraft outlines the simultaneously medical and political behaviors which combine to form and maintain the components of “a healthy state.” The aim of this essay is to situate Wollstonecraft within the medico-political milieu of the late eighteenth century and to illustrate how her use of medicine, and specifically a form of preventative immunity


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pp. 21-40
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