Famous 19th Century Social Reformers

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Social Reformers, including Harriet Tubman, Jane Addams, William Lloyd Garrison, Dorothea Dix and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

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.
19
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 Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale.
10
Famous As: Founder of Modern Nursing
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence
Died: August 13, 1910
The Lady with the Lamp Florence Nightingale is remembered for her relentless efforts in nursing soldiers during the Crimean War. She founded London’s St Thomas' Hospital to train nurses. She also pioneered the use of the polar area diagram and was the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society.
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 3 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass.
4
Famous As: American orator
Birthdate: February 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S
Died: February 20, 1895

Social reformer and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York. Born into slavery, he had a difficult early life. Eventually, he managed to escape and dedicated the rest of his life to promoting the cause of abolition. He was a great orator and writer.

 4 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
8
Famous As: Social Reformer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paschim Midnapore District, West Bengal, India
Died: July 29, 1891

 5 Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule.
13
Famous As: Social Reformer, Poet
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

 6 Jane Addams

Jane Addams.
5
Birthdate: September 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cedarville, Illinois, U.S.
Died: May 21, 1935

 7 Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji.
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bombay, British India
Died: June 30, 1917
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 8 William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison.
4
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: December 12, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Newburyport
Died: May 24, 1879

 9 Jyotiba Phule

Jyotiba Phule.
6
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 11, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Satara, Maharashtra, India
Died: November 28, 1890

Jyotiba Phule was an Indian thinker, social activist, writer, and anti-caste social reformer. During his lifetime, he worked towards eradicating the caste system and untouchability in India. He was also a pioneer of women education in India and began his first school for girls in Pune in 1848. B. R. Ambedkar had often cited Jyotiba Phule as an inspiration.

 10 Dayanand Saraswati

Dayanand Saraswati.
4
Famous As: Indian philosopher
Birthdate: February 12, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tankara, Gujarat
Died: October 30, 1883

 11 Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix.
4
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 4, 1802
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Maine, US
Died: July 17, 1887

 12 Vinoba Bhave

Vinoba Bhave.
3
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: September 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pen
Died: November 15, 1982

 13 George Lansbury

George Lansbury
3
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: February 21, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Halesworth, Suffolk, England
Died: May 7, 1940

 14 William Beveridge

William Beveridge.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 5, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rangpur, Bangladesh
Died: March 16, 1963

Born to a British civil servant in British India, William Beveridge was educated at Oxford. While he initially excelled in math and classics, he later studied law. A leading economist, he created the Beveridge Report, which formulated the welfare state policies in the U.K. after World War II.

 15 Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade.
3
Famous As: Judge, Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niphad
Died: January 16, 1901

 16 Keshab Chunder Sen

Keshab Chunder Sen
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 19, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 8, 1884

 17 Josiah Henson

Josiah Henson.
3
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: June 15, 1789
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Charles County, Maryland, United States
Died: May 5, 1883

 18 Dhondo Keshav Karve

Dhondo Keshav Karve.
5
Famous As: Social Reformer and Educator
Birthdate: April 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ratnagiri
Died: November 9, 1962

 19 Josephine Butler

Josephine Butler.
3
Famous As: Social Worker
Birthdate: April 13, 1828
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Northumberland
Died: December 30, 1906

 20 Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 28, 1801
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 1, 1885

 21 Theodore Parker

Theodore Parker
3
Famous As: Transcendentalist
Birthdate: August 24, 1810
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lexington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 10, 1860

 22 Edwin Chadwick

Edwin Chadwick
5
Famous As: Public servant
Birthdate: January 24, 1800
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Longsight, Manchester, England
Died: July 6, 1890

 23 Caroline Norton

Caroline Norton.
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 22, 1808
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: June 15, 1877

 24 Rowland Hill

Rowland Hill
3
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: December 3, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kidderminster, England
Died: August 27, 1879

 25 Gerrit Smith

Gerrit Smith
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 6, 1797
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Utica, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 1874

 26 Julie Billiart

Julie Billiart
3
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: July 12, 1751
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cuvilly, France
Died: April 8, 1816

 27 Samuel Plimsoll

Samuel Plimsoll
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 10, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: June 3, 1898

 28 Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes
8
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: October 20, 1822
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Uffington, Berkshire,England
Died: March 22, 1896

 29 George Ripley

George Ripley
2
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: October 3, 1802
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 4, 1880

 30 István Széchenyi

István Széchenyi
3
Famous As: Political reformer
Birthdate: September 21, 1791
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 8, 1860

Remembered as "the Greatest Hungarian,” István Széchenyi was a reformer and author who had initially fought against Napoleon I. He had served as the minister of public works and transport and improved his country’s waterways and roadways. Charged with sedition against Austria’s reign over Hungary, he later committed suicide.

 31 William Thompson

William Thompson
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: March 28, 1833

 32 Abigail Kelley Foster

Abigail Kelley Foster
2
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 15, 1811
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pelham, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 14, 1887

 33 Robert Dale Owen

Robert Dale Owen
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 7, 1801
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: June 24, 1877

 34 Mary Carpenter

Mary Carpenter
2
Famous As: Educational and Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 3, 1807
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Exeter, England
Died: June 14, 1877

 35 Charles Loring Brace

Charles Loring Brace
2
Famous As: Philanthropist
Birthdate: June 19, 1826
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
Died: August 11, 1890

 36 Ernestine Rose

Ernestine Rose
2
Famous As: Social reformer
Birthdate: January 13, 1810
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Died: August 4, 1892

 37 Fowell Buxton

Fowell Buxton
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 1, 1786
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Essex, England
Died: February 19, 1845

 38 Frances Dana Barker Gage

Frances Dana Barker Gage
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 12, 1808
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marietta, Ohio, United States
Died: November 10, 1884

 39 Richard Oastler

Richard Oastler
2
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: December 20, 1789
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leeds, England
Died: August 22, 1861

 40 Francis Place

Francis Place
2
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: November 3, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 1, 1854

Initially a leather breeches manufacturer, social reformer Francis Place participated in various working-class movements, before launching his tailoring shop. His socialist streak pushed him into politics, and he successfully campaigned against the Combination Acts that prohibited trade unions. He also became a Malthusian at one point.

 41 Benjamin Lundy

Benjamin Lundy
2
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: January 4, 1789
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hardwick Township, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 22, 1839

 42 Samuel Bamford

Samuel Bamford
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 28, 1788
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Middleton, England
Died: April 13, 1872

 43 Samuel Romilly

Samuel Romilly
2
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: March 1, 1757
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 2, 1818

 44 Pavel Kiselyov

Pavel Kiselyov
1
Famous As: Reformer
Birthdate: January 19, 1788
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: November 26, 1872

 45 Wang Tao

Wang Tao
1
Famous As: Translator
Birthdate: November 10, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Luzhi, Suzhou, China
Died: May 24, 1897

 46 Father Mathew

Father Mathew
1
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: October 10, 1790
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: December 8, 1856

 47 John Cartwright

John Cartwright
2
Famous As: British politician
Birthdate: September 17, 1740
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Marnham, England
Died: September 23, 1824

 48 Barthélemy-Prosper Enfantin

Barthélemy-Prosper Enfantin
1
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: February 8, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 1, 1864

 49 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

 50 George Henry Evans

George Henry Evans
1
Famous As: Reformer
Birthdate: March 25, 1805
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bromyard, Herefordshire, England
Died: February 2, 1856