Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s Women’s History

Updated April 21, 2022

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s Women’s History essay

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Thomas Higginson is one of the most renowned and important figures of the nineteenth-century New England reform due to his contributions to women’s history and their rights. His educational background was from Harvard Divinity School, and he gradually became the pastor in a nearby church and covered many important topics which were not addressed in that era. Higginson had a strong interest in history and was very well informed about the history of ancient greece. He became so involved in the ancient history that he regularly published historical pieces. Due to his strong passion for history he also ventured to women’s rights in history which made him reevaluate the equal rights of women. He actively worked to gather people to help women achieve their deserved rights and also encouraged men to join the rallies as well.

Higginson interest in humanitarian work goes way back.. Some key life events of Higginson include his work as an abolitionist and as a transporter. He was dedicated to the abolition movement before the American Civil War. After graduating from Harvard, he served the Unitarian congregation where he preached social reform and abolition. He then went on to work for women’s rights, the Free Soil party, and other abolitionist causes which allowed to get in touch with such men as Henry Thoreau and Orestes Brownson. Over the years he wrote many letters and published essays which solely focused on women’s rights. In his book “Ought Women to Learn the Alphabet?” published in the year 1859 his main argument was to increase opportunities for education and to give them a chance to join the workforce. His topics and arguments were so strong that many other activists reached out to him, one of them was Emily Dickinson. She was an American poet who wrote short stories which targeted on different things such as nature, religion, law, music, medicine, fashion and many domestic activities. Higginson encouraged and supported Emily Dickinson and after her death he helped edit and publish her unconventional poetry.

Higginson preached about women’s rights, labour, and slavery but unfortuantely was not supported by his fellow members. It was not surprising that he was criticized for speaking up for the needy, at that time people were scared because they did not want to clash with the authorities. For example some people found his attitudes regarding women to be somewhat extreme. Even his mom wrote to him and asked “You don’t want women to vote, do you, or to be lawyers, or go to Congress!”. Little did she know, equality for all genders is that’s exactly what he wanted.

Higgionson want to join the army and had the role of commanding the Army’s first black regiment. Due to his long and varied career and experiences he developed a strong passion for the equal rights movement and became a firm believer in equal rights for everyone, regardless of their race, gender or creed.

One significant and important example is his work for women’s suffrage include his writings on women’s rights. Higginson often wrote and compared women’s lack of rights to african amercian lack of rights. In the article Thomas Wentworth Higginson it further goes on to write about his work for women. For example it says “Higginson main contribution to the movement, however, was through writing. He regularly published speeches and collections of essays on women’s rights. He believed in the political functions of writing, which he thought would contribute to raising awarness” (Quanquin, 38). This article exemplifies Higginsons signitant contribution to women’s rights and how he played an integral part in it.

Some other major organization that we was a part of is the Boston Vigilance Committe, which is an organization that protects fugitive slaves.During his time in this committe, he recivedd a request yo rescue Thomas Sims who was the first excaped slave who was appreghened in Boston and returnted to slavery,

During the civil war Higginson volunteered and became a captain and later went on to serve as a colonel of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers in the 1860’s. As he did with all of his experiences, Higginson wrote about his experience in the South Carolina Army in the novel “Army Life in a Black Regiment” where he discussed how there is no guarantee of African American Lives and how their demeanor under arms which shamed the entire nation into recognizing them as men.

Through his writings, contributions and his work in organization its very clear where his views stand regarding women’s rights. Through his activities on women’s suffrage it’s very clear for one to see how he influenced people for many years to come. His extraordinary life and career as a minister , military man, acticsist, writer, editor expressed his commitment in politics, social relations and culture. His work inspired many forms of culture. Today it’s very beneficial for students to remember and examine his paragraphs on rebellion, lives of slaves and the treatment of women in history.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson influence as a liberal thinker and activist remans historically significant. In fact, he became one of the most influential names of his times. Through his teachings we can learn a lot about the amount of courage and bravery it takes to start a revolution. While many people including his own mother was against the idea of him protesting for women’s rights, he persevered and stood strong in his values and beliefs. His hard work and sheer dedication to improve society shows his true character. There is a long list of his achievements and contributions to society. For these reasons Thomad Higginson was an integral part of the women’s rights movement and contributed greatly to the freedom they have today.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s Women’s History essay

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s Women’s History. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/thomas-wentworth-higginsons-womens-history/


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