Women Writers

Influential Women Writers of America, 1850-1880

In the 1800s, women were not seen as equals of men in America. But several women rose to the occasion and used the pen and paper to start reforms. Writing was more than a craft for these influential authors in America during the 1990s; it was a platform for their advocacies and views.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Coming from the famous and religious Beecher family, Harriet Beecher Stowe used her talent in writing to put a spotlight on abolitionism or the eradication of slavery. Her most famous work is the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. This story revealed the harsh conditions of Uncle Tom, an African-American slave.

The novel had such a profound effect on the attitudes towards slavery and was said to lay the foundation for the Civil War in the 1960s. There was more sympathy for the cause of the abolitionists in the American North and angering the South.

At the start of the Civil War, US President Abraham Lincoln invited her to the White House, and during their conversation, the President reportedly said in jest she is the woman who wrote the book that started the war.

Many were angered by Stowe’s book against slavery. So Stowe countered all these criticisms with facts by writing a follow-up book called A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1853. She gathered real-life stories of slaves and the inhumanity they had to endure. She also included her own thoughts against slavery.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

 Popularly known for her novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott created the beloved characters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy, in 1868 as a mirror of her life as a young woman with three sisters. The book was well-received during her generation and is still beloved up to now — with adaptations in movies, plays, and television.

Little Women is a coming of age story that documents the lives of the March sisters from childhood to adulthood. Along the way, it illuminated the first vision of the All-American girl ideal that many are still striving up to now.

Facts about Influential Women Writers of America in the 19th Century

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the best selling novel of the 19th Century, second only to the Bible as the best selling book of that Century
  • The secondary title of Uncle Tom’s Cabin is Life among the lowly.
  • Harriet Beeche Stowe is an accomplished abolitionist. This is a reform movement that opposes slavery.
  • Little Women was first published in 1868 when Louisa May Alcott was thirty-five years old. It had sequels entitled Little Men(1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886).
  • The illustrations were created by Louisa’s youngest sister, May.
  • The latest movie adaptation of Little Women stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.

Who wrote the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
The author is Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Who was the US President who invited Harriet Beecher Stowe to the White House after the profound impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
It was US President Abraham Lincoln who steered America during the tumultuous Civil War of the 1860s.

What is the follow-up book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe after Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
It was A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that outlines real-life accounts of slavery to validate the struggles of the characters in the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Who are the four siblings in Little Women?
They are Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March.

Who wrote Little Women?
The author is Louisa May Alcott.