Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Frances Wright

1795-1852
From: United Kingdom, United States: Tennessee
Fields: Activism and Social Service, Human Rights
 
Wright, Frances (1795-1852), Anglo-American social reformer, born in Dundee, Scotland. She grew up in London, toured the U.S. from 1818 to 1820, and reported enthusiastically on her experiences in Views of Society and Manners in America (1821). This volume won her the friendship of many liberal thinkers, among them the French military leader and hero of the American Revolution Marquis de Lafayette. In 1824 she accompanied him on his historic tour of the U.S., and later the same year, Wright established Nashoba, an experimental community near Memphis, Tennessee, designed to prepare slaves for emancipation. Swamp fever, sensational negative publicity, and other problems caused the experiment to end in failure. In 1828, Wright began to lecture, and became coeditor of the New Harmony Gazette with the American legislator Robert Dale Owen. The next year she and Owen founded the Free Inquirer as successor to the Gazette. In both her lectures and her writings Frances Wright vigorously advocated abolition, universal education, birth control, and equal rights for women. Her works include A Few Days in Athens (1822) and Course of Popular Lectures (2 vol., 1829-36).

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