|Frances Wright/Fanny Wright|
1824 portrait of Wright by "Henry Inman
September 6, 1795|
|Died||December 13, 1852
|Occupation||Writer, lecturer, "abolitionist, "social reformer|
|Known for||"Feminism, "free thinking, founded "utopian community|
Frances Wright (September 6, 1795 – December 13, 1852) also widely known as Fanny Wright, was a Scottish-born lecturer, writer, "freethinker, "feminist, "abolitionist, and "social reformer, who became a "US citizen in 1825. The same year, she founded the "Nashoba Commune in "Tennessee, as a "utopian community to prepare "slaves for "emancipation, but it lasted only five years. Her Views of Society and Manners in America (1821) brought her to public attention as a critic of the new nation.
She was one of three children born in "Dundee, "Scotland, to Camilla Campbell and James Wright, a wealthy "linen manufacturer and political radical. Her father designed Dundee trade tokens, knew "Adam Smith and corresponded with French republicans, including "Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Both parents died young, but Fanny (as she was called as a child), orphaned at the age of three, was left a substantial inheritance. Her maternal aunt became her guardian and took Fanny to her home in England. Her guardian taught her ideas founded on the philosophy of the "French materialists.
At 16, she returned to Scotland, where she lived with her great-uncle, "James Mylne, and spent her winters in study and writing and her summers visiting the "Scottish Highlands. By 18, she had written her first book.
Wright traveled to the US in 1818. At 23, with her younger sister, she toured the country for two years before she returned to Scotland. She believed in both universal equality in education and "feminism. She attacked "organized religion, greed, marriage, and capitalism. Along with "Robert Owen, Wright demanded that the government offer free "boarding schools. She was a fighter for the "emancipation of "slaves and for "birth control and "sexual freedom for women. She wanted free public education for all children over two years old, in state-supported boarding schools. She expressed, through her projects in America, what the "utopian socialist "Charles Fourier had said in France "that the progress of civilization depended on the progress of women."
Wright was the co-founder of the Free Inquirer newspaper. She wrote Views of Society and Manners in America (1821) and A Few Days in Athens (a defense of the philosophy of "Epicurus). Her publication of Views of Society and Manners in America was a major turning point, as it brought her new acquaintances, and led to her return to the US, where she became established as a social reformer. It is a significant example of the 18th-century humanitarian outlook confronting the new democratic world. It was translated into several languages and widely read in Great Britain, the United States and Europe. She was also the editor of The Sentinel (later titled New York Sentinel and Working Man's Advocate).
In 1824–1825, Wright again visited the United States, accompanying the "Marquis de Lafayette during much of his "famous tour of the United States. As Lafayette headed South in February, Wright headed west towards Robert Owen and the utopian community he had established at "New Harmony, Indiana. They met up again in New Orleans in April 1825 and traveled north along the Mississippi River.
In the fall of 1825, Wright returned to Memphis and founded the "Nashoba Commune, near "Memphis, Tennessee. Around the same time, she published a tract, A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States Without Danger of Loss to the Citizens of the South, and hoped it would persuade Congress to set aside land for the purpose of promoting emancipation. To demonstrate how slaves could be emancipated without their owners losing money, Wright set out to construct a model farm community where slaves could work to earn their own freedom, while being provided with education. Nashoba was partially based on Owen's "New Harmony controversial settlement, where Wright spent a significant amount of time. Nashoba was plagued with difficulties from the start; it was built on mosquitos-infested land and therefore was conducive to malaria, and it failed to produce good crop harvests. Wright had to leave the property because of illness, and while she was away the interim managers of Nashoba began instituting a policy of harsher punishments toward the black workers, and a scandal regarding "free love" and an interracial relationship between a white overseer and an African American slave broke out. By Wright's return in 1828, the community had collapsed financially. In 1830, Wright gave up, chartering a ship to take the Commune's thirty slaves to the black republic of "Haiti, which had achieved independence in 1804. There, they could live their lives as free men and women. After the closing of Nashoba, Wright wrote an explanation and defense of the commune and the principles of "human liberty and equality." The modern city of "Germantown, "Tennessee, a suburb of "Memphis, is on the land of Nashoba.
Wright's opposition to slavery contrasted with the views of many other "Democrats of the era, especially those of the South. At the same time, her activism on behalf of workingmen distanced her from the leading abolitionists of the day. In 1833 to 1836, her lectures upon slavery and other social institutions attracted large and enthusiastic audiences/and led to the establishment of what were called "Fanny Wright" societies. Her visits were subsequently extended to the principal cities of the United States, but the enunciation of views similar to those contained in her Few Days in Athens met with very decided opposition.
Around 1838, Wright married a French physician, Guillaume D'Arusmont, with whom she had a daughter, Frances Sylva D'Arusmont. A second child died in infancy. Sylva married William Eugene Guthrie, a member of an old established "Forfarshire family in Scotland. Wright and D'Arusmont later divorced.["citation needed]
As an activist in the American "Popular Health Movement between 1830 and 1840, Wright advocated for "women being involved in health and medicine. In 1836, she published her last book, Course of Popular Lectures.["citation needed]
After the mid-term political campaign of 1838, Wright suffered from a variety of health problems. She spent her last years in retirement at the residence of her daughter. She died in 1852 in "Cincinnati, Ohio, from complications resulting from a fall on an icy staircase. She is buried at the "Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.
Views of Society and Manners in America was one of Wright's first well-circulated and controversial pieces. She wrote it following her 1818 trip to the United States, her first trip to North America. In Views of Society and Manners, she pondered the treatment of slaves and discussed her time as a foreigner.
Wright began the letter with a greeting and acknowledges her foreign status. She admitted having unique outlooks because of her position as an outlander. Indeed, her propositions were striking. She claimed that the Constitution was made for the benefit of its creators but admired the American people. She described their calmness, rationality, and general civility. She claimed that they seldom called names but dealt with issues in an organized manner. She stressed the importance of the newspaper to foreigners, touting it as a roadmap to navigate the new land.["citation needed]
Wright also discussed "Benjamin Franklin and "Thomas Jefferson. She praised them and noted that every household possessed copies of one or both of their works. She expressed general positivity toward Americans. She also praised their love for their Founding Fathers. She respected their work ethic and sociability. She noticed their participation in government elections, as well as the newspaper's rigorous attempts to report everything about the ongoing elections. She also discussed women's rights and suggested how women should attain knowledge and be treated.["citation needed]
She also wrote about other travelers' differing views on American religion. She said one might think that America did not have a religion and someone else might say that the American religion was too stern and dogmatic. She clearly stated that she did not long for the American religion. She expressed that her goal was to analyze the religion, not to conform to it. Based on her time in America, she proposed that there were many different denominations of religion. She referred to them as fraternities. She was very open-minded during her travels to America. She withheld judgment and recorded the various things that stood out to her.["citation needed]
Wright also expressed a strong desire to aid marginalized people. In Views of Society and Manners, she examined the American society in terms of the manners of the wealthy and the poorer classes alike. She spoke out against slavery. She was an advocate for citizen health in the South and for assisting the less fortunate. She realized that differences between the majority and minority were made not only on the country but in the small communities as well. She was aware that blacks were uneducated and insisted that education was the way to equality.
She has a plaque on the wall of her birthplace, 136 Nethergate, "Dundee.
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