CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

The Immigrant Activist Who Loved America’s Ideals, If Not Its Actions

Ernestine Rose Championed Abolition and Women’s Rights in Her Adopted Land

A photograph of Ernestine Rose, probably dating to the 1850s. Rose, who is not familiar to many Americans today, was famous in her time. Image courtesy of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

On May 22, 1869, at age 59, the famous activist and orator Ernestine Rose became an American citizen in her own right.

Her decision to do so, at such a late stage of her life, was paradoxical. Rose had long admired the United States, working ardently to make it a better place whenever it fell short of its promise. Legally, she had been a citizen since the 1840s, when her husband, the English silversmith William Rose, became an American: Throughout Western countries at the time, wives assumed their husbands’ …

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