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Louisa May Alcott

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Amy Condie Jen Gehrin. Louisa May Alcott. Louisa May Alcott. Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832 Louisa and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and May were taught by their father, Bronson Alcott, who was a philosopher and a transcendentalist.

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louisa may alcott
Louisa May Alcott
  • Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832
  • Louisa and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and May were taught by their father, Bronson Alcott, who was a philosopher and a transcendentalist.
  • Their mother, Abigail May, raised them with practical Christianity
  • Enjoyed writing since her childhood
louisa may alcott1
Louisa May Alcott
  • Her family was struck with poverty when Louisa was 15 years old and she was determined to help out her family although during this time, women had difficulty getting employed
  • She began writing poems and short stories which were published in magazines
  • She went to Washington DC to work as a Civil War nurse where she wrote various journals, and novels about her experiences
  • She published over 30 books during her life
reform movement
Reform Movement
  • Louisa May Alcott primarily focused on women’s rights as well as the elimination of slavery in America, which were two areas of conflict in the mid 1800s.
  • In history, women were viewed as inferior to men, and were not able to develop intellectually. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children was a woman’s primary job.
  • Louisa May Alcott frowned upon this belief and therefore creates the characters in her novels, specifically Josephine March in Little Women who was a quick tempered tomboy.
  • Another movement Alcott was involved in was the abolitionist movement. These people were focused on abolishing slavery in the 1800s. Similar to her views of women’s rights, Alcott disapproved of the idea of slavery, and tends to comment boldly on these topics.
women s rights movement
Women’s Rights Movement
  • Louisa’s family became troubled by poverty and Louisa was determined to help out her family although it was rare for women to get jobs or become successful
  • “I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family ; and I will be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!”
women s rights movement1
Women’s Rights Movement
  • She began writing and she worked as a Civil War nurse
  • Her publisher asked Louisa to write “a girls story” and she spent two and a half months working on it
  • She titled this book Little Women and it was based on her experiences of growing up with three sisters during a time where women had few rights
  • Louisa became very successful after her book was published and helped her family out of poverty
abolitionist movement
Abolitionist Movement
  • Louisa May Alcott disliked slavery since she was a child
  • She became a nurse for the Civil War at the Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, VA
  • She only there for a month because she was diagnosed with typhoid pneumonia
  • After she left, she wrote “Hospital Sketches” which was based on her experiences during the war and her antislavery views
effects of louisa may alcott
Effects of Louisa May Alcott
  • Alcott’s stories had a profound effect on American history. She spoke out for masses of women, explaining what most women could not in her stories, and displayed different kinds of women in her stories, such as tomboys, and girls with quick tempers, a concept that society had not yet been introduced to.
  • She had also attended the Women’s Congress of 1875 where she met Mary Livermore and contributed to Lucy Stone’s Woman’s Journal.
  • Alcott led the way for women’s voting rights, and registered a multitude of women, including herself, to be amongst the first to vote. She also had an effect with slavery.
  • Unlike many, Alcott spoke out against slavery, fighting for interracial marriages, a large step in society at this time.
  • Finally, she was able to provide her family with the financial security she gained from her stories.
  • "Louisa May Alcott." Louisa May Alcott. Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association, 2004. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <>.
  • "Louisa May Alcott." Women in History. Lakewood Public Library, 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <>.
  • "Excerpts from Louisa May Alcott's Civil War Journal—Journal." Primary Sources. Houghton Mifflin Company, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. < bke1_template.jsp?name=alcottlm&bk=bke1&choice=2&choice=4&x=53&y=12>.
  • Goodwin, Joan. "Louisa May Alcott." Unitarian Universalist Historical      Society, n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2011. <      articles/louisamayalcott.html>.
  • Wells, Kim. "Louisa May Alcott." N.p., Nov. 2003. Web. 11 Apr. 2011. <>.
  • "Louisa May Alcott." Women in History, 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 30 Mar.
  • 2011. <>.