Have You Heard of Victoria Woodhull?

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Because I never had. It’s entirely possible that my history education is sorely lacking, but I had no idea that the first woman to run for President of the United States did so way back in 1872!

Victoria Woodhull, who obviously didn’t win, opposed incumbent Ulysses S. Grant. Born in 1838 in Homer, Ohio, this eccentric, free thinking suffragette ran as the representative of the Equal Rights Party. She campaigned throughout her life for such intriguing causes as free love, labor laws, and legalized prostitution. Oh, and she made a killing on Wall Street too as the first female stock broker. She then took her spoils of capitalism and founded a newspaper in which she proceeded to publish the first English language version of The Communist Manifesto. Talk about diverse interests! And Woodhull was ahead of her time in other ways too…she publicized a sex scandal between popular and well known minister Henry Ward Beecher and one of his parishioners, and maintained high profile celebrity feuds herself with none other than Harriet Beecher Stowe and Susan B. Anthony. Who knew?

Controversial or not, kooky or not, this is one intriguing historical figure I’d say! If you’d like to learn more about Victoria Woodhull, here are some good sources:

Who Is Victoria Woodhull?

Victoria Claflin Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull On Wikipedia

Victoria Woodhull On The History Channel

All Things Victoria Woodhull

And here are some quite insightful (and gutsy for her time) quotes attributed to Victoria Woodhull:

“I am a free lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please”.

“I endeavor to make the most of everything”.

“I come before you to declare that my sex are entitled to the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

“I shall not change my course because those who assume to be better than I desire it”.

“I now announce myself as candidate for the Presidency. I anticipate criticism; but however unfavorable I trust that my sincerity will not be called into question”.

Here’s to history…Unsanitized, quirky, and fascinating!

 

 

 

 

 

2 responses »

    • I think so! I don’t agree with all of her leanings but I admire anyone who had the guts to speak out like she did, and accomplish what she did, at that time when women basically had NO rights. Now that is a person I’d like to sit down with over lunch and try to figure out what makes them tick, what motivates them…She was not a boring woman, that’s for sure!

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