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John Neal (1793–1876) was an American writer, critic, editor, lecturer, and activist. He delivered speeches and published essays, novels, poems, and short stories between the 1810s and 1870s. Neal advanced American art, advocated the end of slavery and racial prejudice, and helped establish the American gymnastics movement. The first author to use natural diction, he was also the first to use "son-of-a-bitch" in a work of fiction. He attained his greatest literary achievements between 1817 and 1835 as the first American published in British literary journals, author of the first history of American literature, America's first art critic, and a forerunner of the American Renaissance. One of the first men to advocate women's rights in the US, he affirmed intellectual equality between men and women, fought coverture laws, and demanded equal pay, better education and suffrage for women, declaring "I tell you there is no hope for woman, till she has a hand in making the law". (Full article...)
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