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.

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century Political Activists

 1 
Harriet Tubman
(Activist and Abolitionist Known for Her Efforts in Rescuing Slaves and Abolition of Slavery)

Harriet Tubman
4
Birthdate: 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 
Emma Goldman
(Political activist)

Emma Goldman
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: May 4, 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.

 3 
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
(Military Leader)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944
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Jane Addams
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cedarville, Illinois, U.S.
Died: May 21, 1935

Jane Addams was an American social worker, reformer, settlement activist, public administrator, sociologist, and author. Addams was a prominent leader in the history of women's suffrage and social work in the USA. She is credited with co-founding one of America's most popular settlement houses, the Hull House in Chicago. Addams is also credited with co-founding the American Civil Liberties Union.

 5 
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

 6 
Prescott Bush
(Politician)

Prescott Bush
4
Birthdate: May 15, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Died: October 8, 1972

 7 
Patrick Pearse
(Barrister and a Leader of the Easter Rising in 1916)

Patrick Pearse
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1916

Patrick Pearse was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, and revolutionary. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Opinionated with radical views, he decided as a boy that he would dedicate his life to Irish freedom. A relentless idealist, he was executed after the Easter Rising and was immortalized as a symbol of the rebellion.

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 8 
Kasturba Gandhi
(Wife of Mahatama Gandhi)

Kasturba Gandhi
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porbandar
Died: February 22, 1944

Kasturba Gandhi was an Indian freedom fighter and political activist. Best remembered as the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Kasturba took part in Indian independence movements along with her husband. Her life and career inspired a play titled Kasturba which was written by Narayan Desai and directed by Aditi Desai. The play was staged several times in India.

 9 
Zitkala-Sa
(Writer)

Zitkala-Sa
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yankton Reservation, South Dakota, United States
Died: January 26, 1938

 10 

Dietrich Eckart
3
Birthdate: March 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany
Died: December 26, 1923

German anti-Semitic völkisch poet, playwright, journalist, publicist, and political activist Dietrich Eckart, one of Adolf Hitler's earliest mentors who Hitler acknowledged as the spiritual co-founder of Nazism, founded German Workers' Party, the precursor of Nazi Party. Eckart was the original publisher of the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, and lyricist of Sturmlied, the de facto anthem of the Sturmabteilung.

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Died: February 13, 1958

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst was a British suffragette who co-founded the Women's Social and Political Union. From 1912 to 1913, Pankhurst directed the organization's militant actions from France. After the war, Christabel Pankhurst settled down in the United States of America where she served as an evangelist for the Second Coming movement.

 12 

Alexander Berkman
2
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. 

 13 
Edith Cowan
(Social Campaigner)

Edith Cowan
2
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.

 14 
Angelina Grimke
(Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist)

Angelina Grimke
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1805
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Died: October 26, 1879

 15 
David Walker
(Writer)

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

 16 
Moses Montefiore
(Financier)

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

 17 
Eoin O'Duffy
(Political Activist)

Eoin O'Duffy
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lough Egish, County Monaghan, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1944

Irish revolutionary leader and military commander Eoin O'Duffy led the liberal-conservative party Fine Gael. He also spearheaded the Irish paramilitary organization Blueshirts. He later lost a lot of his popularity due to his fascist ways and also made an unsuccessful attempt to help Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

 18 
Mahadev Govind Ranade
(Judge, Social Reformer)

Mahadev Govind Ranade
2
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niphad
Died: January 16, 1901

Mahadev Govind Ranade was an Indian social reformer, scholar, author, and judge. Ranade is credited with co-founding the Indian National Congress as well as founding several organizations like the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, Widow Marriage Association, and Vaktruttvottejak Sabha. He also contributed as an editor of a nationalist publication named Induprakash.

 19 
Aleksandr Ulyanov
(Revolutionary)

Aleksandr Ulyanov
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Died: May 20, 1887

Russian revolutionary Aleksandr Ulyanov was the elder brother of Vladimir Lenin, who founded the Soviet Union. Though initially not interested in politics, he later became involved in St. Petersburg student politics and was part of a plot to kill Alexander III. He was hanged along with four of his comrades.

 20 

Benjamin Constant
2
Birthdate: December 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: December 8, 1830

Swiss-French activist and author Benjamin Constant is best remembered for penning the classic French novel Adolphe, which was one of the earliest psychological novels. Initially the chamberlain to the duke of Brunswick, he later supported the French Revolution and became a Member of the Chamber of Deputies.

 21 
An Jung-geun
(Political activist)

An Jung-geun
0
Birthdate: September 2, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Haeju, North Korea
Died: March 26, 1910

 22 
Earl Browder
(Political leader)

Earl Browder
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: June 27, 1973

 23 

Thomas MacDonagh
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cloughjordan, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1916

Born to schoolteacher parents, Thomas MacDonagh initially aspired to be a missionary. However, he later taught English and French, and then focused on writing. The author of plays such as When the Dawn Is Come, MacDonagh later joined the Irish Volunteers and led the Easter Rising before being executed by shooting.

 24 
Edward Bellamy
(Journalist)

Edward Bellamy
2
Birthdate: March 26, 1850
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicopee, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 22, 1898

 25 

Compton Mackenzie
2
Birthdate: January 17, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: West Hartlepool, County Durham, England
Died: November 30, 1972

Though born into a famous family of theater actors and managers, Compton Mackenzie turned to writing in his 20s. Known for works such as Greek Memories, he also gained fame as a Scottish nationalist and played a major role in the formation of the Scottish National Party.

 26 
Max Eastman
(Novelist)

Max Eastman
2
Birthdate: January 4, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Canandaigua, New York, United States
Died: March 25, 1969

 27 
Chittaranjan Das
(Leader of the Swaraj Party in Bengal Under British Rule)

Chittaranjan Das
2
Birthdate: November 5, 1870
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: June 16, 1925

 28 

Charles W. Chesnutt
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: November 17, 1932

 29 
Anna Howard Shaw
(Leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.)

Anna Howard Shaw
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
Died: July 2, 1919

 30 
Ricardo Flores Magón
(Political figure)

Ricardo Flores Magón
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1873
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Mexico
Died: November 21, 1922

One of the most well-known Mexican anarchists, Ricardo Flores Magón initially studied law but soon got involved in student politics and was imprisoned multiple times. He also edited the anarchist newspaper Regeneración. One of the initiators of the Mexican Revolution, he later fled to the US, where he formed the Mexican Liberal Party.

Charles Joseph Bonaparte
2
Birthdate: June 9, 1851
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: June 28, 1921

The grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Joseph Bonaparte was a French-American lawyer and political activist, born and raised in Baltimore. Founder of Baltimore Reform League, his works attracted Theodore Roosevelt’s admiration and serving as U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General during the latter’s tenure as President, he established Bureau of Investigation, later Day FBI, prosecuting many antitrust suits.

 32 

John Mercer Langston
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1829
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Louisa, Virginia, United States
Died: November 15, 1897

 33 

Ivan Franko
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nahuievychi, Ukraine
Died: May 28, 1916

 34 
Kunwar Singh
(Revolutionary)

Kunwar Singh
0
Birthdate: November 13, 1777
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jagdishpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: April 26, 1858

 35 
Phan Boi Chau
(Political Figure)

Phan Boi Chau
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nghe An, Vietnam
Died: October 29, 1940

 36 
Michael Davitt
(Political leader)

Michael Davitt
2
Birthdate: March 25, 1846
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Straide, Ireland
Died: May 30, 1906

 37 
Whina Cooper
(Activist)

Whina Cooper
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Te Karaka, New Zealand
Died: March 26, 1994

Whina Cooper was a New Zealand activist and a respected kuia. She is best remembered for her work concerning the rights of her people. Her work also aimed at supporting and encouraging Māori women to speak up about their problems. Whina Coope's nationally recognized activity earned her awards in both the New Zealand and British Royal Honours Systems. 

 38 
Theodore Dwight Weld
(Abolitionist)

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

 39 
Namık Kemal
(Writer)

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

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1840
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Petworth, England
Died: September 10, 1922

Alice Dunbar Nelson
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: September 18, 1935

 42 
Mary Burns
(Political Activist)

Mary Burns
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: January 7, 1863

Born to working-class parents in Ireland, Mary Burns is remembered as the lifelong companion of German philosopher, political theorist, and socialist Friedrich Engels. Burns and Engels didn’t believe in the institution of marriage and thus co-habited without marrying. Following her death, Engels began living with her sister.

Jessie Benton Frémont
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1824
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lexington, Virginia, United States
Died: December 27, 1902

 44 
Edmund Ruffin
(Soldier)

Edmund Ruffin
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1794
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Prince George County, Virginia, United States
Died: June 17, 1865

 45 
Henk Sneevliet
(Politician)

Henk Sneevliet
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: April 13, 1942

Charlotte Forten Grimké
1
Birthdate: August 17, 1837
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: July 23, 1914

 47 
Catherine Helen Spence
(Author, Journalist & Politician)

Catherine Helen Spence
1
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". 

 48 
Henrietta Szold
(Zionist leader)

Henrietta Szold
1
Birthdate: December 21, 1860
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: February 13, 1945

 49 
Pavel Axelrod
(Politician)

Pavel Axelrod
1
Birthdate: August 25, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died: April 16, 1928

Marxist revolutionary leader Pavel Axelrod was closely associated with the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party and the Mensheviks. He was married to the daughter of satirist Isaac Kaminer. He went against the Bolshevik Revolution during World War I. He was exiled to Berlin in his final years and died there eventually.

 50 
Vasudev Balwant Phadke
(Revolutionary, Activist)

Vasudev Balwant Phadke
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1845
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shirdhon, Maharashtra, India
Died: February 17, 1883