Mar 1, 2018

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull is best known for being the first woman to officially run for President of the United States in 1872, but the rest of her life was pretty interesting too. 

  • When she was young, her father made Victoria and her sister Tennessee work as spiritual mediums.  Spiritualism was pretty big back then.  

  • When she was 15 she married a doctor.  Which, besides being too young, would sound great.  However, her husband was an alcoholic, often too drunk to work. She divorced him. 

  • She was a supporter of Free Love, which sounds like something out of the hippie era. There was a social sigma attached to women who got divorced, but not on men to have mistresses. That comes up again later.

  • She was a suffragist.  She believed that woman already had the right to vote under the constitution.  All people born in the United States were citizens, and every citizen had the right to vote. The other suffragists didn't seem to care for her much.  They liked her ideals, perhaps it was her personality?

  • She was the first woman to address congress. 

  • Victoria and her sister are considered the first women stockbrokers.  They made friends with Cornelius Vanderbilt and he taught them about the stock exchange.

  • The sisters then used some of that money to start their own newspaper.  It was in this paper that she announced her candidacy for President of the United States.  She ran under the Equal Rights Party and named Fredric Douglass as her running mate, though he never accepted. She also published a story about a rival minister who didn't like her Free Love ideals.  He was committing adultery, which was a thing you went on trial for back in those days. She and her sister were arrested for publishing the "obscene" story in the paper, this was the Comstock Law era.  She spent election day in jail. 

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There may be a movie coming out in 2019 on Victoria Woohull which is very exciting. 

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