Roses and Radicals: The Epic Story of How American Women Won the Right to Vote is an inspiring odyssey chronicling the 72 long years it took women to gain the right to vote.
The story begins in 1840 at a meeting in England concerned with ending slavery. It was during male-dominated discussions of rights for African American people, that the suffrage movement was founded on these virtues of equality, something that had become jaded and lost since America’s creation. Although the first whispers of women’s rights were mentioned in 1840, it wasn’t until 1848 that action was taken.
During and before the 19th century, women were slaves to their husbands, fathers, and government, suffering from the inequality of a misogynistic world. It was in this landscape of discontent that wives and mothers relit the flame of indignation which had too long been stoked by men. The foremothers of this revolution were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony.
These women’s throats grew dry from countless lectures, their feet tired and souls weary from the constant exhaustion of standing up to those who wanted to keep them in their ‘ladylike’ place. Yet when battling the inequality they faced, suffragettes (as these women came to be called) inflicted inequality on those different from them, forgetting the equality which the movement was founded on. Although the racial climate in the 19th century was ‘different’ than today, these women were extremely racist when it came to the right to vote. It seemed voting rights were elitist and reserved only for white women.
The government (of men) was passionate about unjustly silencing suffragettes, yet women prevailed through the oppression and created monumental change. In defiance of the patriarchy, women took to the streets and marched in favor of equal voting rights, the recent women’s marches are quite similar to these original acts of rebellion.
Susan Zimet crafts a story that is quite riveting and wholly eye-opening. Her pages were enlightening to the past injustice that women faced on a daily, helping the reader realize how many rights women have gained as well as touching on how many opportunities there are for change. The story is densely concise, chalked full with primary source quotes from these radical women. However, the writing was not extremely entertaining and there were several instances of terrible cliches. On a whole, Zimet crafted an inspiring work that I recommend to everyone. Roses and Radicals is a display of determination which influenced positive metamorphosis and it stands as a testament for women to continue creating beneficial change.