Margaret Fuller is one of the most influential female authors, editors, and journalists in the American history. Born on May 23, 1810 in Massachusetts, U.S., she holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans for her association with the American renaissance and the transcendentalism movement (Marshall 16). The literary critic and women right’s advocate died on July 19, 1850 after the ship she was travelling in wrecked off Fire Island, New York, U.S. Fuller is credited with writing the first major feminist book in the history of the United States. She started her education journey at home through the help of her father Timothy Fuller.
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However, she later on managed to attend a formal school where she ended up being a teacher before starting her work as a journalist. Fuller was always concerned by the inability of women across the country to access higher education (Matteson 118). This was her major source of inspiration when she started holding discussions around the need and importance of women empowerment. Her biggest influence was Ralph Waldo Emerson, a brilliant conversationalist known for his transcendental ideas. Margaret Fuller was a bold woman who strongly advocated for gender equality, and whose unconventional views paved the way for affirmative action in America.
Margaret Fuller deserves more recognition for being America’s first true feminist (Argersinger and Cole 44). She played a crucial role in the birth and growth of affirmative action in the country. Being the first, full-time American female book reviewer, paved the way for millions of women across the world who did not believe they could access education and have a positive impact on the world (Murray 128).
In 1840, Fuller and Emerson cofounded “The Dial”, a journal that focused on publishing literature and philosophical articles. The journal published several of Fuller’s literature articles and reviews. One of her famous and most influential publications made by the journal was a feminist manifesto called “The Great Lawsuit”, which championed for women rights and equality (Marshall 31).
In the public declaration, Fuller argued that the time was right for women empowerment by giving them the necessary freedom to achieve their full potential. She strongly believed in bridging existing gaps with regard to the masculine and feminine principles that had deformed the American society. She did this by expanding her manifesto into a book, which was published under the title “Woman in the Nineteenth Century”. The book detailed the way women were victims of historical injustices and often faced discrimination because of the stereotypes that had been developed about gender roles (Matteson 200).
Margaret Fuller was highly passionate about social justice. One of the things that still endear her to Americans several years after her death is the commitment she demonstrated to causes such as political equality, women empowerment, prison reforms, and access to higher education for all people (Murray 303). These causes played a major role in the birth and growth of contemporary America. Notably, the current debates about affirmative action confirm the same fears that Fuller had several years ago. She was afraid that the world would struggle to embrace women empowerment because men had an internal battle of wanting to maintain the status quo (Bailey et al. 139).
Margaret Fuller was a strong believer in women empowerment through education. Among the earliest proponents of feminism, she always believed that women had the ability to fight for political equality and make an equal contribution to the society just as men had been doing for centuries. Fuller was known to be a highly confident woman, a legacy that has inspired many women across political and literary spheres for several decades. Though not adequately appreciated for her fight for social justice and unconventional views with regard to the position of women in society, her legacy still lives on as evidenced by the growing global acknowledgement of affirmative action.
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Argersinger, Jana, and Phyllis Cole. Towards a Female Genealogy of Transcendentalism. University of Georgia Press, 2014.
Bailey, Brigitte, et al. Margaret Fuller and her Circles. UPNE, 2013.
Marshall, Megan. Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
Matteson, John. The Lives of Margaret Fuller. W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
Murray, Meg. Margaret Fuller, Wandering Pilgrim. University of Georgia Press, 2014.