Margaret Fuller Quotes

Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850)

Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller. Kean Collection / Getty Images

Margaret Fuller, American writer, journalist, and philosopher, was part of the Transcendentalist circle. Margaret Fuller's "conversations" encouraged the women of Boston to develop their intellectual capacities. In 1845 Margaret Fuller published Woman in the Nineteenth Century, now considered an early feminist classic. Margaret Fuller married in Italy while covering the Roman Revolution, had a child, and was drowned with her husband and daughter on their return to America in a shipwreck just off shore.

Selected Margaret Fuller Quotations

• Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow.

• I accept the universe!

• What woman needs is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when we left our common home.

• In order that she may be able to give her hand with dignity, she must be able to stand alone.

• The especial genius of women I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency.

• Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

• Let it not be said, whenever there is energy or creative genius, "She has a masculine mind."

• We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down.

We would have every path laid open to women as freely as to men. If you ask me what offices they may fill, I reply -- any. I do not care what case you put; let them be sea captains, if you will.

• When not one man, in the million, shall I say? no, not in the hundred million, can rise above the belief that Woman was made for Man, — when such traits as these are daily forced upon the attention, can we feel that Man will always do justice to the interests of Woman?

Can we think that he takes a sufficiently discerning and religious view of her office and destiny ever to do her justice, except when prompted by sentiment — accidentally or transiently?

• If the negro be a soul, if the woman be a soul, apparelled in flesh, to one master only are they accountable.

• It is a vulgar error that love, a love, to woman is her whole existence; she is also born for Truth and Love in their universal energy.

• Two persons love in one another the future good which they aid one another to unfold.

• Genius will live and thrive without training, but it does not the less reward the watering-pot and pruning-knife.

• Plants of great vigor will almost always struggle into blossom, despite impediments. But there should be encouragement and a free genial atmosphere for those of more timid sort, fair play for each in its own kind.

• Man is not made for society, but society is made for man. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual.

• If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.

• For human beings are not so constituted, that they can live without expansion; and if they do not get it one way, must another, or perish.

• For precocity some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life.

• Humanity is not made for society, but society is made for humanity. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual. [adapted]

• No temple can still the personal griefs and strifes in the breasts of its visitors.

• Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day's performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet, and from it learn the all.

• The critic is the historian who records the order or creation. In vain for the maker, who knows without learning it, but not in vain for the mind of his race.

• I now know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis.

Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.