Scottish-born Frances (Fanny) Wright defied many people’s ideas of proper behavior for a woman.
In 1825 she set up a model plantation in Tennessee to show how, using government land, slave owners might let slaves earn their freedom.
When her experiment failed, Wright turned to other issues.
In 1828 she boldly broke the long-standing social rule against women speaking to large crowds.
Waving a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Wright lectured forcefully to both men and women on basic human rights. She insisted on equal opportunities for women and promoted public education for both boys and girls.
Outraged by her ideas, newspapers and religious leaders called her a “female monster.”
Wright returned to Europe in the 1830s, but her opponents tried to belittle women’s rights activists by calling them “Fanny Wrightists.”