ERIC Number: ED235113
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
Harriet Martineau: Principal Economic Educator.
O'Donnell, Margaret G.
Although she encountered criticism of her work, Harriet Martineau was the most widely read economics educator of 19th century Great Britain. Martineau wrote for the masses; she was convinced that it was each citizen's civic duty to learn economics. She relied on the body of knowledge which existed in her day: Mill's "Elements of Political Economy," Smith's "Wealth of Nations," and Malthus'"Essay on Population." It was not her intent to add to the body of economic knowledge, but rather to translate that knowledge to the common person. Her volumes, "Illustrations of Political Economy" (1832-1834), consisted of 25 tales, one published each month. Each tale illustrated a different economic concept which Martineau considered crucial to the working person. Throughout each narrative was an explanation of an economic principle and an accompanying analysis of how contemporary misguided legislation had resulted in unnecessary events. Her contemporaries criticized her largely for her lack of originality, although she had expressly stated her purpose for writing. The criticism did not deter sales; by 1834 ten thousand copies of the monthly number of the series were being sold. Later in life, Martineau presented lectures on contemporary political and economic topics and on practical advice on running a farm. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Martineau (Harriet)