Free Love, Socialism, and Women’s Rights
Scottish freethinker Frances “Fanny” Wright was among the first women to go on the lecture circuit. Her utopian socialist ideas and unconventional lifestyle attracted women’s rights advocates, including women’s education proponent Emma Willard and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 1836, Wright’s protégée Ernestine L. Rose, a Polish exile and socialist lecturer, began advocating for married women’s property rights in New York State, circulating petitions and presenting them to the legislature until 1848, when a bill was finally passed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked with Rose on the passage of the law, and Rose later joined Susan B. Anthony on a suffrage and antislavery lecture tour. Stanton acknowledged both Wright’s and Rose’s influence by placing their pictures in volume one of the History of Woman Suffrage.