The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights

The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Nothing Daunted, The Agitators chronicles the revolutionary activities of Harriet Tubman, Frances Seward, and Martha Wright: three unlikely collaborators in the quest for abolition and women’s rights.

In Auburn, New York, in the mid-nineteenth century, Martha Wright and Frances Seward, inspired by Harriet Tubman’s rescues in the dangerous territory of Eastern Maryland, opened their basement kitchens as stations on the Underground Railroad.

Tubman was enslaved, Wright was a middle-class Quaker mother of seven, and Seward was the aristocratic wife and moral conscience of her husband, William H. Seward, who served as Lincoln’s Secretary of State. All three refused to abide by laws that denied them the rights granted to white men, and they supported each other as they worked to overturn slavery and achieve full citizenship for blacks and women.

The Agitators opens when Tubman is enslaved and Wright and Seward are young women bridling against their traditional roles. It ends decades later, after Wright’s and Seward’s sons—and Tubman herself—have taken part in three of the defining engagements of the Civil War. Through the sardonic and anguished accounts of the protagonists, reconstructed from their letters, diaries, and public appearances, we see the most explosive debates of the time, and portraits of the men and women whose paths they crossed: Lincoln, Seward, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others. Tubman, embraced by Seward and Wright and by the radical network of reformers in western New York State, settled in Auburn and spent the second half of her life there.

With extraordinarily compelling storytelling reminiscent of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time and David McCullough’s John Adams, The Agitators brings a vivid new perspective to the epic American stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, women’s rights activism, and the Civil War.

Title:The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights Reviews

  • Rachel

    The Agitators by Dorothy Wickenden is an excellent nonfiction that weaves together the stories of three friends or “Auburn agitators”: Frances Seward, Harriet Tubman, and Martha Wright. This was a...

  • Biography & Memoir

    In mid-1800s America, freedom was a foundational concept, but it had many, often thorny, branches. Who could doubt that African slaves were deprived of it, or that women, no matter how privileged, wer...

  • Joseph J.

    Having read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals I was especially interested in the story of Frances Seward among the three focused on in this book. While she emerges in a more complete and appreciat...

  • Danaw

    Wickenden helps complete the story of the fight for women’s rights and abolition through the eyes of three incredible women. This refreshing view is knitted together through meticulous research and ...

  • Kenneth Barber

    This book details the story of three women activists and their relationship to each other and reform movements primarily abolition and women’s suffrage. All three women resided in Auburn, New York. ...

  • Judi

    I feel like I've read a lot about the Civil War and the nascent women's suffrage movement but I learned a lot reading The Agitators. The story of the friendship between Martha Wright, Francis Seward, ...

  • Jane

    This book is as much about the Civil War as abolition and women’s rights—but of course the war heavily shaped what came next. I enjoyed the audiobook, with three narrators. Full of letters and det...

  • Judy Santos

    Reading a good story like this one, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link for the mecha...

  • Korra

    You are knowledgeable in terms of writing a novel, I really enjoyed it! Well done! ... If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to [email protected]

  • Elizabeth

    As seen in the New Yorker: