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A Modest Defence of Public Stews, by Bernard Mandeville

A Modest Defence of Public Stews, by Bernard Mandeville

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Bernard Mandeville was a Dutch doctor who settled in England in the wake of his compatriot King William.  Though little known today, he was a leading social theorist and contrarian of the early 18th Century.   A fore-runner of the ideas of the enlightenment, Mandeville wrote extensively on political and social questions. Like many before and since, he examined the question of prostitution and its problems. His conclusion was that it should be controlled by making commercial sex only available in publicly-owned and run "stews" i.e. brothels. This proposal is argued with much wit and sense in the form of a classical oration.

  • 1700s
  • history
  • prostitution
  • social

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