Ernestine Rose

American feminist activist

Ernestine Louise Rose (13 January 18104 August 1892) was an atheist feminist, Individualist Feminist, and abolitionist. She was one of the major intellectual forces behind the women's rights movement in nineteenth-century America.

Ernestine Rose in 1881

QuotesEdit

  • I suppose you all grant that woman is a human being. If she has a right to life she has a right to earn a support for that life. If a human being, she has a right to have her powers and faculties as a human being developed. If developed, she has a right to exercise them.
    • At a New York State convention, Rochester, N.Y. (1853), quoted in Kolmerten, Carol A., The American Life of Ernestine L. Rose, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1999, p. 129-130.
  • What rights have women? … [they are] punished for breaking laws which they have no voice in making. All avenues to enterprise and honors are closed against them. If poor, they must drudge for a mere pittance—if of the wealthy classes, they must be dressed dolls of fashion—parlor puppets...
    • At the Social Reform Convention, Boston (1844), quoted in Kolmerten, Carol A., The American Life of Ernestine L. Rose, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1999, p. 49.

A Defence of AtheismEdit

 
It was a great mistake to say that God made man in his image.
 
Astronomy tells us of the wonders of the Solar System—the eternally revolving planets, the ra­pidity and certainty of their motions, the distance from planet to planet, from star to star.
 
The Universe of Matter gives us no record of his existence.
  • Natural history gives us a knowledge of the animal kingdom in general; the different organ­isms, structures, and powers of the various species. Physiology teaches the nature of man, the laws that govern his being, the functions of the vital organs, and the conditions upon which alone health and life depend. Phrenology treats of the laws of mind, the different portions of the brain, the temperaments, the organs, how to develop some and repress others to produce a well balanced and healthy condition. But in the whole animal econ­omy—though the brain is considered to be a "mi­crocosm," in which may be traced a resemblance or relationship with everything in Nature—not a spot can be found to indicate the existence of a God.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 4
  • Mathematics lays the foundation of all the ex­act sciences. It teaches the art of combining num­bers, of calculating and measuring distances, how to solve problems, to weigh mountains, to fathom the depths of the ocean; but gives no directions how to ascertain the existence of a God.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 4
  • Astronomy tells us of the wonders of the Solar System—the eternally revolving planets, the ra­pidity and certainty of their motions, the distance from planet to planet, from star to star. It pre­dicts with astonishing and marvellous precision the phenomena of eclipses, the visibility upon our Earth of comets, and proves the immutable law of gravitation, but is entirely silent on the exist­ence of a God.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 5
  • The Universe of Matter gives us no record of his existence. Where next shall we search? En­ter the Universe of Mind, read the millions of volumes written on the subject, and in all the speculations, the assertions, the assumptions, the theories, and the creeds, you can only find Man stamped in an indelible impress his own mind on every page. In describing his God, he delineated his own character: the picture he drew represents in living and ineffaceable colors the epoch of his existence—the period he lived in.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 5
  • It was a great mistake to say that God made man in his image. Man, in all ages, made his God in his own image; and we find that just in accordance with his civilization, his knowledge, his experience, his taste, his refinement, his sense of right, of justice, of freedom, and humanity,—so has he made his God. But whether coarse or refined; cruel and vindictive, or kind and generous; an implacable tyrant, or a gentle and loving fa­ther;—it still was the emanation of his own mind—the picture of himself.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 6
  • But the Bible, we are told, reveals this great mystery. Where Nature is dumb, and Man ignorant, Revelation speaks in the authoritative voice of prophecy.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 7
  • The Universe is one vast chemical laboratory, in constant operation, by her internal forces. The laws or principles of attraction, cohesion, and re­pulsion, produce in never-ending succession the phenomena of composition, decomposition, and recomposition. The how, we are too ignorant to understand, too modest to presume, and too honest to profess. Had man been a patient and im­partial inquirer, and not with childish presump­tion attributed everything he could not under­stand, to supernatural causes, given names to hide his ignorance, but observed the operations of Na­ture, he would undoubtedly have known more, been wiser, and happier.
    • 1881, A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, p. 15

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  • Ernestine Rose: A Defence of Atheism: A lecture delivered in Mercantile Hall, Boston on 10 April, 1861, Published in 1881.