History's HEROES? 1802 - 1876

Harriet Martineau

What she did


Her legacy

Harriet Martineau was an important figure in the development of modern thought. She helped to lay down the foundations of modern sociology. She was a pioneer of the practice, common now, of making scientific and academic subjects popular for a wide audience.

She argued for justice, for enslaved people, for servants, for children and for women. Many of her campaigns did not come to fruition until years or decades after her death. Despite the legacy of her hundreds of articles and books, she has never been given the kind of credit she deserves for the breadth of her understanding and original thought, or for the impact she made on social justice.  

Some of her major works include:

Books and pamphlets:
Devotional Exercises and Addresses, Prayers and Hymns, 1823
Principle and Practice, 1827
Illustrations of Political Economy 1832-1833
Society in America, 3 volumes, 1837
Retrospective of Amercian Travel, 3 volumes, 1838
My Servant Rachel, 1838
How to Observe Morals and Manners, 1838
The Martyr Age of the United States, 1839 
Deerbrook, 1839
The Settlers at Home, 1841
The Peasant and the Prince, 1841
Feats on the Fiord, 1841 
The Crofton Boys, 1841
The Billow and the Rock, 1846
Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development. Atkinson, H.G. & Martineau, H. 1851
Comte, A; Martineau, H. (tr.); The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte, 2 volumes, 1853
The Crofton Boys. A Tale, 1841
Eastern Life. Present and Past, 3 volumes, 1848
The Hour and The Man, 1856
Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, 1855
Newspapers and Periodicals
The Liberty Bell, 1839-1858
London's Daily News, 1852-1866
The Spectator, 1858
The National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1859-1862
Once a Week, 1861-1862
Journal Articles
Interpreting the Sectional Divide, 1854-1857
On the Eve of War, 1858-1860
War and Reconstruction, 1862-1864

A statue was erected to Harriet near the site of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Meeting in 1884. It was destroyed by fire in 1914. She was one of the subjects in Una Pope Hennessy's 1929 novel,  'Three English Women in America' and, in 2002, Deborah Anna Logan wrote a Biography of her entitled 'The Hour and The Woman'. There is also a Harriet Martineau Society.


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