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Two Women Reevaluated

June 2024
1min read

Most overrated:

Betsy Ross. There is no evidence that she had anything to do with designing the American flag. The legend of Betsy Ross tells us much more about the intense patriotism in the United States in the late nineteenth century than it tells us about the story of the Revolution and the founding of the new nation.

Most underrated:

Margaret Fuller, author, critic, feminist, transcendentalist, and the first important woman journalist. Margaret Fuller was the intellectual equal of her friends and associates Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She was the editor of The Dial , and she presided over “conversations” to which most of the important intellectuals of her day flocked. Horace Greeley, who hired her to write for his New York Tribune , called her “the most remarkable and in some respects the greatest woman whom America has yet known.” Even though she died tragically at the age of forty, she wrote many articles and several books, including her classic Woman in the Nineteenth Century .

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