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Frances Wright

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Frances Wright (September 6, 1795 – December 13, 1852), 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 demonstrate how to prepare slaves for eventual emancipation, but the project lasted only five years. In the late 1820s Wright was the first woman lecturer to speak publicly before gatherings of men and women in the United States about political and social-reform issues. She advocated for universal education, the emancipation of slaves, birth control, equal rights, sexual freedom, legal rights for married women, and liberal divorce laws. Wright was also vocal in her opposition to organized religion and capital punishment. The clergy and the press harshly criticized Wright’s radical views. Her public lectures in the United States led to the establishment of Fanny Wright societies and her association with the Working Men’s Party, organized in New York City in 1829, became so strong that its opponents called the party’s slate of candidates the Fanny Wright ticket.
Wright also wrote about political and social reforms, which included Views of Society and Manners in America (1821), a memoir of her travels that provides her observations of early democratic political and social institutions in the United States. She also outlined her position on emancipation in A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States Without Danger of Loss to the Citizens of the South (1825). In addition, Wright co-edited The New Harmony and Nashoba Gazette or Free Inquirer with Robert Dale Owen in New Harmony, Indiana, as well as the Free Enquirer in New York City in 1829, and, later, The Sentinel (renamed New York Sentinel and Working Man’s Advocate). Among Wright’s other published works is Course of Popular Lectures (1829), a collection of her speeches, and her final book, England, the Civilizer (1848).