preview

Abolitionist: Harriet Martineau As A Social Activist

Decent Essays
Harriet Martineau was a social reformer, novelist, an abolitionist, feminist and sociologist. She was one of the first women journalists. Martineau was a self-taught expert in political economic theory, and wrote in abundance about the relations between politics, economics, morals, and social life throughout her career. When she was sixteen she had to deal with her increased deafness, which she described as ‘very noticeable, very inconvenient, and excessively painful.’ She taught herself how to deal with her handicap. Martineau translated Auguste Comte’s work into simpler terms. She translated Comte's 1839 text, Cours de Philosophie Positive, from French into English. In her writing she presented her ideas in story form. She was known…show more content…
This shift goes along with her admiration for August Comte’s positivistic sociology, and her belief in progress. In 1832 Martineau moved to London, where she circulated among leading British intellectuals and writers, including Malthus, Mill, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Thomas Carlyle. From there she continued to write her political economy series until 1834. When the series was completed, Martineau went to the US to study the young nation’s political economy and moral structure. While there, she became acquainted with Transcendentalists and abolitionists, and with those involved in education for girls and woman. She later published Society in America, Retrospect of Western Travel, and How to Observe Morals and Manners--considered her first sociological research publication--which expressed her support for abolition of slavery, criticism of the immorality and economic inefficiency of slavery, its impact on the working classes in the US and in Britain, and fiercely criticized the state of education for women. How to observe morals and manners includes discussions on methodology and theoretical framework for studying society. She wrote in great detail about the necessity to establish certain methods and principles of social…show more content…
She was one of the first women journalists. Martineau was a self-taught expert in political economic theory, and wrote in abundance about the relations between politics, economics, morals, and social life throughout her career. The Martineau family was from liberal protestant culture, with their own experience of prosecution, kept a household atmosphere, which highlighted toleration, intellectual development and social responsibility. Harriet Martineau had a full career of writing about all of her experiences around the world. She was a very successful woman even through all her
Get Access