Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) is increasingly recognised not only as one of the most influential thinkers on women's rights, but also as an incisive and observant writer on politics, education and social issues. Wollstonecraft wrote her first polemical work, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in 1790 in response to Edmund Burke's conservative Reflections on the Revolution in France. It gave Wollstonecraft recognition as a writer and helped to create a larger audience for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, written during the following year. In this controversial essay, one of the first systematic arguments for female emancipation based on the idea of human rights, she contends that any general improvement of society demands that men and women be treated as equals. An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution tries to sustain the political convictions of the two Vindications in the context of the bloody events of the later Revolution. Although she remained firmly committed to the principles of the early Revolution, her disappointment at their practice is evident in this selection of her writings.