This pioneering work by British author Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) provided a foundation for the women's rights movement in the nineteenth century. Wollstonecraft's argument was "built on this simple principle that, if woman be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all."
At the age of twenty-two the English writer and reformer Frances Wright (1795-1852) made her first visit to the United States. In her travel memoirs she contrasted the women of American with their European counterparts. Her enthusiasm for the new republic led her to believe that in the United Sates, "women are assuming their place as thinking beings, not in despite of the men, but chiefly in consequence of their enlarged views and exertions as fathers and legislators."
The Englishwoman Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) visited the United States from 1834 to 1836. She noted the condition of women in a society that proclaimed freedom and justice for all, but denied these rights to half its population.
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was a member of the Transcendentalist circle that included Emerson and Hawthorne. From 1840 to 1842 she edited the Transcendentalist literary quarterly, The Dial. In the July 1843 issue her article "The Great Lawsuit: Man Versus Men: Woman Versus Women" appeared. She revised and expanded this article into Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which had a profound influence on the development of American feminists theory.
John Stuart Mill's (1806-1873) major classic of feminist writing was published in America shortly after it appeared in England. It was enthusiastically adopted by leaders of the woman's rights movement for its analysis of the position of women in society.