Spirit in Action: Margaret's Legacy for Us
by Rev. Dorothy Emerson and Michael Barnett
SPIRIT IN ACTION: MARGARET FULLER'S LEGACY FOR US
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was a leading Transcendentalist with her colleagues Emerson, Thoreau,
and Bronson Alcott. She was the first woman social and literary critic and foreign correspondent for
Horace Greeley's New York Tribunefrom 1844 to 1850. Margaret called upon Americans to question
the second-class status of women, African Americans, and Native Americans and to establish true
democracy at home. In Europe, she exposed the poverty and class created by the Industrial Revolution
and encouraged Americans to support the Roman Revolution. Margaret's work for women's rights,
social justice, and democracy is still relevant for UU's today. To celebrate Margaret's Bicentennial,
Reverend Dr. Dorothy Emerson and Michael Barnett will share how Margaret's spiritual life and
evolution led her to take effective action for social justice.
Dorothy Emerson and Michael Barnett co-lead this exciting workshop on Margaret Fuller at
Convocation because she is an outstanding model for social justice for us today. Margaret's life and
work are an integral part of our UU history and heritage, which can inspire and empower us to live out
our UU principles and faith.
Through our proposed workshop, participants will gain a sense of how spirituality played a central role
in Margaret Fuller's life to propel her to examine and question the social injustices occurring in
America and Europe. From her model of taking action for social reform, participants can reflect upon
their own spirituality and how they participate in action for social justice. They will also learn ways
they can participate in sharing the legacy of Margaret Fuller in their congregations and communities.
Margaret Fuller believed that women and other
minorities needed to be treated equally. She exposed
the horrible conditions in New York hospitals and
prisons and vehemently opposed the extension of
slavery into the territories of the United States.
Inspired by Margaret's extraordinary achievements for
humanity, UU congregations can model her work in
their communities today.
This workshop presented Margaret's life and work as
an excellent example for spirit in action for social
justice. Her outstanding accomplishments as a woman
in her time were a marked inspiration for the emerging
women's rights movement launched in Seneca Falls,
New York, in 1848. Margaret is an exceptional model
for us to take action for social justice in our society
and world today.
For ADDITIONAL MATERIAL from the workshop, see
“A Life of Greatness” by Dorothy Emerson [LINK}
“In Body and Spirit” by Dorothy Emerson [LINK]
Handouts from Michael Barnett, “Margaret Fuller at the New York Tribune: Emerging as a
Social Justice Activist: and “Margaret Fuller and Transcendentalism” [LINK]