The Author And Activist In A Tarnished Gilded Age
Through the late eighteenth century, Tourgee used his literary fame to broaden the base of awareness and support for human rights and equal citizenship, through weekly national and regional newspaper columns and the lecture circuit. His “Bystanders’ Notes” columns in the Inter Ocean engaged readers across the country on a range of topics.
In addition to his attacks on the inequality between the races, Tourgee supported efforts to establish equal rights for women, address the labor unrest sweeping the country and, control the growth of monopolies. Tourgee was also not averse to challenging members of his own party on any number of issues.
For people like Tourgee and Wells, reform did not always necessitate a change in the law, but rather the enforcement of existing laws where the facts revealed a blatant disregard.