Ernestine Louise Rose

By: Mick Yates

Travelling throughout Europe and England, Rose lectured for three years on the principles of human equality with Robert Owen, a social reformer. She eventually moved to New York, arriving at a time when the issue of slavery was dividing the nation. Rose lost no time in lecturing throughout the country, supporting the abolition of slavery, the need for public education, and religious toleration.

Rose also campaigned tirelessly for the civil rights of women, and after twelve years of activism, New York State passed the first married women's property law in the US. This law enabled married women to retain their own property and have equal guardianship, with their husbands, of their own children.

Playing a key part in the creation of the National Women's Suffrage Association and having an active role for 30 years, Rose was considered to be 'the brain" to Susan B Anthony's "soul" of the movement.

Rose is said to have been one of the major intellectual forces behind the women's rights movement in nineteenth-century America. Her strength lay in her remarkable powers of diplomacy, her questioning nature and her unfaltering commitment to her goal of intellectual freedom for herself and society.

Melanie Smith