Margaret Fuller: Early feminist and war correspondent March 31, 2022

from The Forum· ·

In in her 1843 essay The Great Lawsuit, the American journalist and early feminist Margaret Fuller forcefully argued for the rights of women to work, think and live on their own terms, not just as companions and foils for men. She was one of the first Americans to do so. Fuller was a pioneer in other respects too: a trail blazer for advocacy journalism and for unrestricted female education. In the 1840s she became the first paid US war correspondent, reporting from Rome besieged by the French army. Fuller packed a lot into a life of just 40 years; so …



In in her 1843 essay The Great Lawsuit, the American journalist and early feminist Margaret Fuller forcefully argued for the rights of women to work, think and live on their own terms, not just as companions and foils for men. She was one of the first Americans to do so. Fuller was a pioneer in other respects too: a trail blazer for advocacy journalism and for unrestricted female education. In the 1840s she became the first paid US war correspondent, reporting from Rome besieged by the French army. Fuller packed a lot into a life of just 40 years; so much so that after her tragic death in a shipwreck, the men around her - some of them rather famous - did their best to diminish her memory. They exaggerated what they saw as her personal failings and in some instances even falsified her record. As a consequence, we are still discovering the true extent of her life and work. Bridget Kendall talks to three Fuller experts: Megan Marshall, Professor at Emerson College in Boston whose book Margaret Fuller: A New American Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography; Professor Katie Kornacki, Chair of the English department at Caldwell University in New Jersey and the founding editor of the Margaret Fuller Society's Conversations magazine; and the cultural critic Judith Thurman, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and an award-winning biographer focusing on female authors. The reader is Ina Marie Smith. (Image: Margaret Fuller Credit: Stock Montage/Getty Images)