“Men disappoint me so,” Margaret Fuller shared in a letter (21 February 1841) to Reverend William Henry Channing. Born on May 23, 1810, Fuller was a contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, notable for what I believe is my favorite comment by Fuller: “I now know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own.”
On July 19, 1850, Fuller along with Giovanni Ossoli and their child died in a shipwreck off the coast of New York.
The personal tragedy of Fuller is a haunting parallel to how her voice and works are often marginalized still in the traditional canon. See the following resources for examining and exploring Fuller:
Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Margaret Fuller
There exists in the minds of men a tone of feeling toward women as toward slaves….
We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man. Were this done, and a slight temporary fermentation allowed to subside, we should see crystallizations more pure and of more various beauty. We believe the divine energy would pervade nature to a degree unknown in the history of former ages, and that no discordant collision, but a ravishing harmony of the spheres, would ensue.
Yet, then and only then will mankind be ripe for this, when inward and outward freedom for Woman as much as for Man shall be acknowledged as a right, not yielded as a concession.
At Home And Abroad; Or, Things And Thoughts In America and Europe, Margaret Fuller
Fuller’s perceptive mind remains relevant today:
We doubt not the destiny of our country — that she is to accomplish great things for human nature, and be the mother of a nobler race than the world has yet known. But she has been so false to the scheme made out at her nativity, that it is now hard to say which way that destiny points. (“American Facts” in Life Without and Life Within (1860) edited by Arthur Buckminster Fuller, p. 108)