American Journalist and Feminist: Margaret Fuller

American Journalist and Feminist: Margaret Fuller

Bella Nieves

Brief Background

Sarah Margaret Fuller was born on May 23, 1810 in Massachusetts. Her father, Timothy Fuller, educated Margaret at a young age because he was a lawyer and politician. Timothy Fuller died of Cholera in 1835. Fuller attended regular school and became a teacher. In 1839, she began her discussion groups which she called, “classes for women meant to compensate for their lack of access to higher education.”

Why She is Known

Margaret Fuller was known as a journalist, critic, editor, and feminist activist.  In journalism, Fuller was the first ever woman book reviewer. Her work, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” is considered the first major feminist piece in America.

The Dial

October of 1839, an editor for the transcendentalist journal, The Dial, was being sought for.  Transcendentalism, according to Google, is a “movement which developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living.” Many declined the position, so it was brought to Margaret Fuller.

Fuller wrote “Summer on the Lakes” in 1844 based off of her travels to Chicago, Milwaukee, Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York. Biography.org states, “this led to an invitation by Horace Greeley to be literary critic at the New York Tribune that same year.”

In 1845, She published the expanded 1843 version of her piece for The Dial,”The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Men. Woman versus Women.” It was renamed, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century.”

Activism

In addition to her reviews and essays, she went to Europe and became an active member in a variety of social reform issues. Issues that meant a lot to her were women’s education and the right to employment. Fuller also encouraged other reforms such as the freedom of slaves and prison reform. Predominant people such as Susan B. Anthony cited Margaret Fuller as an inspiration.