Who is she?
Margaret was given a remarkable education by her father – he insisted she get the same as any boy’s education and forbade her from reading what was considered “women’s literature” of the time.
She became a journalist and began to hold what she called “conversations” – discussions among local women intended to compensate them for their lack of formal education. A number of significant figures in the women’s rights movement were part of these discussions.
In 1845, Margaret’s work Woman in the Nineteenth Century was published. It discussed the role women played in the American democracy and is subsequently considered the first work of feminism in American history.
She later became the book critic for the New York Tribune – becoming its first female editor in 1846.
Why should we thank her?
Margaret was one of the first voices of feminism in America – she believed in such radical notions as equal access to education, she advocated for women to seek any employment they wished and she warned women to be careful in marriage and not to become dependent on their husbands. Pretty radical for the day. Margaret was also a huge influence on famous women’s rights advocates Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
“If you ask me what office women should fill, I reply—any … let them be sea captains if you will. I do not doubt that there are women well fitted for such an office.”