Louise Rose was a Polish-born Individualist Feminist, Abolitionist,
Freethinker, atheist, and spoke out freely against bigotry and prejudice.
L. Rose, one of the major intellectual forces behind then women's
rights movement in nineteenth-century America was the target of
much scorn. A minister in Charleston, South Carolina, forbade
his congregation to listen to "this female devil." The
editor of a small newspaper in Maine wrote "It would be shameful
to listen to this woman, a thousand times below a prostitute."
chafed at her parents' Jewish religion at an early age. She left
home at age seventeen, she first traveled to Berlin.
of her quotes are as follows:
is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are
atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they
would remain so.
from every kind of bondage is my principle. I go for recognition
of human rights, without distinction of sect, party, sex, or color.
Agitate! Ought to be the motto of every reformer.... Agitation
is the opposite of stagnation -- the one is life, the other death.
is the evil -- knowledge will be the remedy. Knowledge not of
what sort of beings we shall be hereafter, or what is beyond the
skies, but a knowledge pertaining to terra firma, and we may have
all the power, goodness and love that we have been taught belongs
to God himself.
my part, I see no need to appeal to any written authority, particularly
when it is so obscure and indefinite as to admit different interpretations.
When the inhabitants of Boston converted their harbor into a teapot
rather than submit to unjust taxes, they did not go to the Bible
for their authority; for if they had, they would have been told
from the same authority to "give unto Caesar what belonged
to Caesar." Had the people, when they rose in the might of
their right to throw off the British yoke, appealed to the Bible
for authority, it would have answered them, "Submit to the
powers that be, for they are from God," No! on Human Rights
and Freedom, on a subject that is as self-evident as that two
and two make four, there is no need of any written authority.
we believe our case to be based on truth, we know it can bear
the test of reason, and, like gold doubly refined, will come out
purer and brighter from the fiery ordeal. The young man [a male
opponent in the audience] ... based his principal argument against
us, "Because," said he, "you can bring no authority
from revelation or from nature." ... It is true we do not
go to revelations written in books; but ours is older than all
books, ... That revelation is no less than the living, breathing,
thinking, feeling, acting revelation manifested in the nature
of woman. In her manifold powers, capacities, needs, hopes, and
aspirations, lies her title-deed, and whether that revelation
was written by nature or nature's God, matters not, for here it
is. No one can disprove it. No one can bring an older, broader,
higher, and more sacred basis for human rights. Do you tell me
what Paul or Peter says on the subject? Then again I reply that
our claims do not rest on the opinions of any one, not even on
those of Paul and Peter, for they are older than they. Books and
opinions, no matter from whom they came, if they are in opposition
to human rights, are nothing but dead letters.
that I can tell you is, that I used my humble powers to the uttermost,
and raised my voice in behalf of Human Rights in general, and
the elevation and Rights of Woman in particular, nearly all my
life.... Yet in spite of hardships, for it was not easy to travel
at that time as now; and the expense, as I never made a charge
or took up a collection, I look back to that time, when a stranger
and alone, I went from place to place, in high-ways and by-ways,
did the work and paid my bills with great pleasure and satisfaction;
for the cause gained ground, and in spite of heresies I had always
good audiences, attentive listeners, and was well received wherever