Famous 19th Century Political Activists

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Political Activists, including Annie Besant, Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Addams, Emma Goldman and Kasturba Gandhi.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman.
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: February 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 2 Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst.
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Famous As: Leader of the British Suffragette Movement
Birthdate: July 4, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moss Side, Manchester
Died: June 14, 1928
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist best remembered for helping women earn the right to vote in elections by organizing the UK suffragette movement. For playing a major role in achieving women's suffrage in the UK, Pankhurst was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century list in 1999.
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 3 Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kaunas
Died: May 14, 1940

Emma Goldman was a writer and anarchist political activist. She played an important role in popularizing the anarchist political philosophy in Europe and North America in the early and mid-20th century. Her lectures and writing spanned a wide variety of subjects, such as atheism, militarism, freedom of speech, homosexuality, capitalism, and free love.

 4 Annie Besant

Annie Besant.
4
Famous As: Member of the London School Board
Birthdate: October 1, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clapham
Died: September 20, 1933

Annie Besant was a British theosophist, socialist, writer, orator, educationist, women's rights activist, and philanthropist. Despite being British, Besant supported India's freedom movement and even joined the Indian National Congress. She is also credited with co-founding Banaras Hindu University. Besant also helped launch the Indian Home Rule movement to campaign for democracy in the country.

 5 Jane Addams

Jane Addams.
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Birthdate: September 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cedarville, Illinois, U.S.
Died: May 21, 1935

 6 Kasturba Gandhi

Kasturba Gandhi.
3
Famous As: Wife of Mahatama Gandhi
Birthdate: April 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porbandar
Died: February 22, 1944

 7 Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade.
2
Famous As: Judge, Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niphad
Died: January 16, 1901
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 8 Adam Mickiewicz

Adam Mickiewicz
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 24, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zavosse, Belarus
Died: November 26, 1855

 9 Alexander Berkman

Alexander Berkman.
2
Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: November 21, 1870
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vilnius
Died: June 28, 1936

Alexander Berkman was a Russian-American anarchist and author. He was famous for both his political activism and his writing and was a leading member of the anarchist movement in the early 20th century. He served as the editor of fellow anarchist Emma Goldman's anarchist journal, Mother Earth. He suffered from ill-health in his later years and died by suicide. 

 10 David Walker

David Walker
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 28, 1796
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cape Fear, United States
Died: August 6, 1830

 11 Angelina Grimke

Angelina Grimke.
2
Famous As: Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist
Birthdate: February 20, 1805
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Died: October 26, 1879

 12 Edith Cowan

Edith Cowan.
2
Famous As: Social Campaigner
Birthdate: August 2, 1861
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Geraldton, Australia
Died: June 9, 1932

Edith Cowan was an Australian social reformer best remembered for serving as a member of parliament; she was the first Australian woman to do so. She is also remembered for working for the welfare and rights of children and women. In recognition of her contribution, Cowan has been depicted on Australia's fifty-dollar note since 1995.

 13 Moses Montefiore

Moses Montefiore
2
Famous As: Financier
Birthdate: October 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Livorno, Italy
Died: July 28, 1885

 14 Alexander Herzen

Alexander Herzen.
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Famous As: Father of Russian socialism
Birthdate: April 6, 1812
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 21, 1870

Alexander Herzen was a Russian thinker and writer. Regarded as the father of Russian socialism, Herzen played an influential role in the political set up of the 19th and 20th century. He also influenced personalities like Isaiah Berlin, who regarded Herzen as his hero. Herzen's book My Past and Thoughts is considered one of the best autobiographies in Russian literature.

 15 Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
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Famous As: Political and Spiritual Leader
Birthdate: February 6, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Utmanzai, Charsadda
Died: January 20, 1988

Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a Pashtun independence activist who opposed the British rule in India. A spiritual and political leader, Khan called for Hindu-Muslim unity in India and opposed the partition of India. Khan is still revered by many in India and Pakistan for his pacifist ideology. Many places in India are named in his honor.

 16 Edward Bellamy

Edward Bellamy
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 26, 1850
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicopee, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 22, 1898

 17 Benjamin Constant

Benjamin Constant
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: December 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: December 8, 1830

 18 Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw.
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Famous As: Leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.
Birthdate: February 14, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
Died: July 2, 1919

 19 John Mercer Langston

John Mercer Langston
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Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: December 14, 1829
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Louisa, Virginia, United States
Died: November 15, 1897

 20 Mary Burns

Mary Burns
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Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: September 29, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: January 7, 1863

 21 Theodore Dwight Weld

Theodore Dwight Weld
2
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: November 23, 1803
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hampton, Connecticut, United States
Died: February 3, 1895

 22 Namık Kemal

Namık Kemal
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 21, 1840
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tekirdağ, Turkey
Died: December 2, 1888

 23 A. J. Muste

A. J. Muste.
2
Famous As: Clergyman & Political Activist
Birthdate: January 8, 1885
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zierikzee
Died: February 11, 1967

 24 Catherine Helen Spence

Catherine Helen Spence.
1
Famous As: Author, Journalist & Politician
Birthdate: October 31, 1825
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Melrose, Scotland
Died: April 3, 1910

Catherine Helen Spence was a 19th-century Scottish-born Australian author, teacher, journalist, and politician. One of the leading suffragists of her era, she was also a minister of religion and social worker. She supported electoral proportional representation. Australian writer and feminist Miles Franklin called her the "Greatest Australian Woman". 

 25 Edmund Ruffin

Edmund Ruffin
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Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: January 5, 1794
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Prince George County, Virginia, United States
Died: June 17, 1865

 26 Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire

Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
1
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: France
Died: November 21, 1861

 27 Leon Pinsker

Leon Pinsker
1
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tomaszow Lubelski, Poland
Died: December 9, 1891

 28 Giovanni Morelli

Giovanni Morelli
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Famous As: Art Critic
Birthdate: February 25, 1816
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Verona, Italy
Died: February 28, 1891

Born to Swiss parents in Italy, Giovanni Morelli later studied medicine in Switzerland and Germany, but never practiced. A connoisseur of arts, he established himself as an art historian and collector. He also dabbled in politics and passed an act forbidding the sale of artwork from public or religious institutions.

 29 Hugo Kołłątaj

Hugo Kołłątaj
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 1, 1750
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Volhynian Voivodeship, Dutchy of Lithuania
Died: February 28, 1812

 30 Thomas Spence

Thomas Spence
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Famous As: Radical
Birthdate: June 21, 1750
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died: September 8, 1814

 31 Esteban Echeverría

Esteban Echeverría
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 2, 1805
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: January 19, 1851

 32 William Lovett

William Lovett
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: May 8, 1800
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newlyn, England
Died: August 8, 1877

 33 Svetozar Marković

Svetozar Marković
1
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: September 9, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jagodina, Ottoman Empire
Died: February 26, 1875

 34 Benjamin Edes

Benjamin Edes
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 14, 1732
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 11, 1803

 35 Uriah Smith Stephens

Uriah Smith Stephens
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 3, 1821
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape May, New Jersey, United States
Died: February 13, 1882

 36 Zef Jubani

Zef Jubani
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1818 AD
Birthplace: Shkodër, Albania
Died: February 1, 1880

 37 Ali Suavi

Ali Suavi
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Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: December 8, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: May 20, 1878

 38 Isaac Goldsmid

Isaac Goldsmid
0
Famous As: British political activist
Birthdate: January 13, 1778
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 27, 1859

 39 Carlo Poerio

Carlo Poerio
0
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 13, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Italy
Died: April 27, 1867

The son of lawyer Baron Giuseppe Poerio and the brother of poet Alessandro Poerio, Carlo Poerio was a renowned Italian poet and revolutionary, known for his association with the Risorgimento and the 1848 Revolution. Once arrested, he was confined under inhumane conditions but was later released.