Victoria Woodhull: First Female to Run For President of The United States

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Victoria Woodhull is one of the most notable women’s rights activists of the 19th century. This is part three in a series about her life. Read about Victoria Woodhull’s childhood and early life. Or, read about Victoria Woodhull as the first female stock broker

First Female to Run For President?

By 1872, Victoria had been nominated to run for president by the Equal Rights Party. It was a bold choice, and though he never acknowledged the nomination, former slave Frederick Douglass was nominated to run as vice president on Victoria’s ticket.

Though there is some debate as to whether Victoria was a legitimate candidate, many consider her to be the first woman to run for the presidency of the United States.

Woodhull Charged, In Prison on Election Day

Victoria would not be free to see election day, however. Before the election, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly published a story about an affair between Henry Ward Beecher and a married woman. That story would bring Victoria and Tennessee up against zealot Anthony Comstock and ultimately land her and Tennessee in jail on charges that the story was pornography.

The story would lead to what was, at the time, one of the largest court cases in history. Instead of campaigning, Victoria and Tennessee spend election day in prison.

Victoria Woodhull’s Third Marriage and Death

Although the sisters were acquitted, that court case would ruin Victoria and Tennessee financially. Years after their release from prison, the sisters moved to England where they spent the rest of their days. There, Victoria married for a third time after divorcing her second husband. She met her third husband, John Biddulph Martin after she again began lecturing on women’s rights. Victoria died on June 9, 1927.

Read about Victoria Woodhull’s causes in her own words.



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