Skip to main content

Frances Wright

@ National Portrait Gallery


Born Dundee, ScotlandAs a young girl in Scotland, Frances Wright developed an intense admiration for the Declaration of Independence. The document inspired her lifelong commitment to social reform and prompted her to encourage the United States to live up to its democratic ideals. Her book Views of Society and Manners in America (1821) praised the positive effects of liberty and freedom while denouncing the injustice of slavery.After becoming a United States citizen in 1825, Wright purchased several hundred acres in Tennessee and established Nashoba, a utopian community devoted to racial and gender equality, where enslaved men and women could receive education and training while working to earn their freedom. When the experiment failed after five years, Wright resettled the commune’s thirty residents in Haiti. Always one to defy convention, she later traveled around the country, delivering lectures that advocated for women’s rights, liberalized divorce laws, birth control, state-sponsored education, and the abolition of capital punishment.
Lithograph On Paper
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
View Original At:

Record Contributed By

National Portrait Gallery

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution