Lucas, Margaret Bright (1818–1890)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Lucas, Margaret Bright (1818–1890)

English reformer. Born in 1818; died in 1890; daughter of Jacob Bright (a bookkeeper and cotton spinner) and Martha (Wood) Bright (a tradesman's daughter); sister of John Bright (1811–1889, a reformer); married Samuel Lucas (1811–1865).

Along with her brother John Bright and her husband Samuel Lucas, Margaret Bright Lucas fought to benefit the industrial middle class by participating in the Anti-Corn Law League, a pressure group that agitated for the abolition of import tariffs on foreign foodstuffs as the preliminary to complete free trade in all commodities. The League and its representatives stood for what Tory politician Benjamin Disraeli called "the Manchester School," an economic doctrine that advocated a totally free market with only the minimum of government regulation, a political system favorable to middle-class business interests, and a social system in which middle-class values predominated. While on a visit to America, Lucas took an interest in temperance reform and women's suffrage; she returned to preside over the British Women's Temperance Association.