Social Reformers

Where would the human society be today had it not been for the several thousands of social reformers all over the world, who since the beginning of civilization have strived to make the world a better place? Social reformers advocate reforms and play a key role in the development of society and nation building. The human society is not perfect and the social norms and conditions that are ingrained into the structure of the society are often biased against certain sections of the society. People who are distressed by the malpractices and injustices in the society and strive to bring about a change are the social reformers. A reform movement led by social activists aims to bring about a gradual change in the society by bringing about awareness about the issues in hand. Every country has its own stories about the atrocities meted out to certain segments of its population and the brave men and women who dared to question the authoritative society in their fight for their basic rights. Abolitionists, feminists, civil rights activists, environmentalists, and gay rights activists are all the social reformers who have helped to make the society a more equitable and civilized place. Read on to learn more about the social reformers who changed the society for the better.

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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 Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale
4
Famous As: Founder of Modern Nursing
Birthdate: May 12, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
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.

 2 William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: August 24, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: July 29, 1833
William Wilberforce, an independent MP from Yorkshire, was a champion for the British anti-slavery movement and made a significant contribution to the passage of the 1807 Slave Trade Act and the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act. He supported missionaries in India, founded the Church Mission Society, and was against animal cruelty.
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 3 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: February 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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.

 4 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
2
Famous As: Social Reformer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Indian
Died: July 29, 1891
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 5 Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
4
Famous As: socio-religious reformer
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian
Died: September 27, 1833

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian social and religious reformer. He is credited with co-founding the Brahmo Sabha, a social-religious reform movement. Often referred to as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance, Roy has had an influential role in fields like politics, education, and religion. In 2004, he was ranked 10th in BBC's Greatest Bengali of all time poll.

 6 Jyotiba Phule

Jyotiba Phule
2
Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 11, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Indian
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.

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 7 Jeremiah

Jeremiah
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Famous As: Prophet
Birthdate: 0655 BC
Nationality: Israeli
Died: 0586 BC

Jeremiah was one of the major prophets, according to the Hebrew Bible. As per Jewish tradition, he authored the Book of Lamentations, the Books of Kings, and the Book of Jeremiah. According to Judaism, Jeremiah is the second of the major prophets and the Book of Jeremiah is often considered a part of the religion's canon.

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 8 William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: December 12, 1805
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 24, 1879
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 9 B. R. Ambedkar

B. R. Ambedkar
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Famous As: Indian Jurist
Birthdate: April 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Indian
Died: December 6, 1956

India's first Minister of Law and Justice, B. R. Ambedkar inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement. He also fought against social discrimination prevalent in India at that time. Widely regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution of India, Ambedkar was posthumously honored with India's highest civilian award - The Bharat Ratna.

 10 Narayana Guru

Narayana Guru
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Famous As: Spiritual Leader, Social Reformer
Birthdate: August 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Indian
Died: September 20, 1928
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 11 Robert Owen

Robert Owen
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Birthdate: May 14, 1771
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Welsh
Died: November 17, 1858
While working as an apprentice to a clothes manufacturer, Robert Owen often spent hours reading at his employer’s library. He later explored the textile industry and led a Manchester firm. Remembered as a pioneer of the co-operative movement and utopian socialism, he improved the working conditions of factory workers.

 12 Girolamo Savonarola

Girolamo Savonarola
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Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: September 21, 1452
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Italian
Died: May 23, 1498
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 13 Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
2
Famous As: Islamic Scholar, Reformer
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 28, 1921

 14 Vinoba Bhave

Vinoba Bhave
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Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: September 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian
Died: November 15, 1982

 15 Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass
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Famous As: American orator
Birthdate: February 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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.

 16 Kanshi Ram

Kanshi Ram
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 9, 2006
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 17 Baba Amte

Baba Amte
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Birthdate: December 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Indian
Died: February 9, 2008

 18 Bipin Chandra Pal

Bipin Chandra Pal
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 7, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: May 20, 1932
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 19 James Oglethorpe

James Oglethorpe
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Famous As: Founder of the colony of Georgia
Birthdate: December 22, 1696
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: June 30, 1785

 20 Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: July 10, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 18, 1955
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 21 Dayanand Saraswati

Dayanand Saraswati
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Famous As: Indian philosopher
Birthdate: February 12, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 30, 1883

 22 Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 7, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: French
Died: November 3, 1793

Olympe de Gouges was an 18th-century French playwright and political activist. Her writings on women's rights and abolitionism were popular in various countries. She was an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies. She demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. She was executed during the Reign of Terror.

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 23 Jane Addams

Jane Addams
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Birthdate: September 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: May 21, 1935

 24 Dadabhai Naoroji

 Dadabhai Naoroji
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Birthdate: September 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian
Died: June 30, 1917
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 25 Hu Yaobang

Hu Yaobang
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Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: November 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Chinese
Died: April 15, 1989

Hu Yaobang served as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his position as the general secretary, Hu served as the party's chairman from 1981 to 1982. Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, Hu Yaobang rose to prominence and played a crucial role in the Boluan Fanzheng program, which was initiated by Deng.

 26 William Griffith Wilson

William Griffith Wilson
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Famous As: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Birthdate: November 26, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 27 Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade
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Famous As: Judge, Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Indian
Died: January 16, 1901

 28 Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott
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Famous As: Abolitionist, Women's Rights Activist, Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 3, 1793
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: November 11, 1880
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 29 Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix
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Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: April 4, 1802
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: July 17, 1887

 30 Dhondo Keshav Karve

Dhondo Keshav Karve
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Famous As: Social Reformer and Educator
Birthdate: April 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Indian
Died: November 9, 1962
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 31 George Lansbury

George Lansbury
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Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: February 21, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: May 7, 1940

 32 Ramananda

Ramananda
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1380 AD
Nationality: Indian
Died: 1475 AD
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 33 Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 2, 1829
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German, American
Died: May 14, 1906

 34 Charles Freer Andrews

Charles Freer Andrews
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: February 12, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 5, 1940
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 35 William Beveridge

William Beveridge
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 5, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: March 16, 1963

 36 Keshab Chunder Sen

Keshab Chunder Sen
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 19, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: January 8, 1884

 37 Josiah Henson

Josiah Henson
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: June 15, 1789
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: May 5, 1883

 38 Aungier Pakenham, 7th earl of Longford

Aungier Pakenham, 7th earl of Longford
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Famous As: British politician
Birthdate: December 5, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: August 3, 2001

 39 Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury

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

 40 Florence Kelley

Florence Kelley
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Famous As: Social Reformer
Birthdate: September 12, 1859
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: February 17, 1932

 41 Josephine Butler

Josephine Butler
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Famous As: Social Worker
Birthdate: April 13, 1828
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: December 30, 1906

 42 Theodore Parker

Theodore Parker
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Famous As: Transcendentalist
Birthdate: August 24, 1810
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: May 10, 1860

 43 Edwin Chadwick

Edwin Chadwick
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Famous As: Public servant
Birthdate: January 24, 1800
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1890

 44 Samuel Smiles

Samuel Smiles
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 23, 1812
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: April 16, 1904

 45 Granville Sharp

Granville Sharp
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Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: November 10, 1735
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1813

 46 Kang Youwei

Kang Youwei
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 19, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Chinese, Taiwanese
Died: March 31, 1927

 47 Michael Young, Baron Young of Dartington

Michael Young, Baron Young of Dartington
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: August 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: January 14, 2002

 48 Dom Mintoff

Dom Mintoff
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 6, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Maltese
Died: August 20, 2012

 49 Mary White Ovington

Mary White Ovington
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: April 11, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: July 15, 1951

 50 Caroline Norton

Caroline Norton
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 22, 1808
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: June 15, 1877
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