Margaret Fuller, a Re-Mastering of Womanhood

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Margaret Fuller Pages: 9 (2821 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Margaret Fuller, a Re-mastering of Womanhood

Margaret Fuller was a multifaceted woman who in reality did not fit into the period of which she was born. However, the obstacles and difficulties women faced during the 1800s, if they choose to be more than just a domestic worker, is exactly what shaped her into a prominent female figure. Margaret Fuller would go on to become an icon in the New England Transcendentalist movement, an editor of the first avant-garde intellectual magazine in America, an author and the first foreign correspondent, male or female, for an American newspaper.[1] Her achievements stemmed from her ability to reinvent herself to fit in with the prospects and changes that came her way. Margaret believed that more than one phase of character could be shown in one life time, often referring to herself as a “chameleon”, meaning that she had the capability of adapting to changes. In a world with limited opportunities for a woman she would break all the rules and prove to many that women could indeed overcome any obstacle.

Fuller’s childhood and education was unusual, but it would prepare her to take on the world as an adult. She was born May 23rd, 1810 as [Sarah] Margarett Fuller in Cambridge port, Massachusetts to Margarett Crane and Timothy Fuller who were married on May 28th, 1809. Her father Timothy marked the day of Margaret’s Birth by planting three majestic elm trees in front of their home.[2] She was named after her grandmother and mother; eventually the terminal “t” would be dropped off.[3] Timothy Fuller was a prominent lawyer and congressman, who graduated second in his class from Harvard University. He had also established a prosperous legal practice and could be described as brash, ambitious, stubborn and proud. (10) “He respected others according to what they could do.”[4] Margarett Crane was ten and a half years younger than Timothy when they met. She never had a tremendous amount of schooling as did her husband, it was only rudimentary, however, Timothy was captivated by the pleasure that his bride took in learning. She can be described as soft spoken, playful and charming.[5]

Margaret’s parents, particularly her father did not believe in slavery and therefore did not own any slaves. In 1819 during the Missouri Crisis congressman Timothy Fuller attacked slavery as unrepublican. He unlike others felt that slaves were men and men were created equal, therefore slaves were entitled to the same rights as him. Slaves were born into a republican government entitling them to be free and to have the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.[6] This is sort of different and unheard of during this time, people feeling that slaves had equal rights to that of the white man. This is important to see Timothy Fuller take this position because he raises his children to respect blacks and although not stated this has to impact Margaret’s views on slavery as well as the world she lives in as she gets older.

Margaret’s parents drive to support her education stemmed from the tragic loss of a child and would allow her to be extremely versatile throughout her life. Timothy and Margaret would go on to have five children and one named Julia who would meet her demise at a very early age of only fourteen months old. This event that took place on October 5th 1813 marked the beginning of Margaret’s vigorous and extensive education given to her by her father. After Julia’s death Timothy set out to make her the heir to all he knew.[7] Both Timothy and Margarett Fuller equally shared the same desire to re-direct the path their daughter was to take. Instead of receiving an education in domestic and social accomplishments; they wanted her to be successful and push for more than the typical roles woman had in a male society. At three years old Margaret already knew the alphabet and numbers. When Margaret was almost four Timothy felt that books written for children were too babyish...
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