The first woman to run for U.S presidency.
Woodhull was born to a family of ten children in Homer, Ohio. She and her sisters worked on a traveling circuit, telling fortune to help the family earn money.
When turned 15, she escaped and married Canning Woodhull, with whom she had two children – one with a brain injury for life. After they moved to New York and the couple got divorced, Victoria and her sister worked together as a medium. One of their clients led them to open the first female-owned brokerage house on Wall Street.
With the fortune that they made, the two sisters invested in promoting the political and social reforms that they believed in. They published “Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly” – an innovative newspaper with the motto: “Progress! Free thought! Untrammeled lives!”
In 1872, to promote women suffrage, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to address the House Judiciary Committee and declared her candidacy for the presidency of the United States, when she is not even 35 years old.
The election day she spent in arrest, for her newspaper was accused of publishing “obscene materials”. The month in arrest and the legal expenses drained her funds until she relocated to England.
There, she married for the third time, and published The Humanitarian magazine, together with her daughter.
With her actions and words, Victoria challenged many conventions of her time. In addition to women’s right to vote, she advocated for a range of freethinking causes: 8-hour work day, social welfare, free love, sex education, short skirts, vegetarianism, and licensed prostitution. Her opinions are now considered to have been 100-years ahead of her time.
“I shall not change my course because those who assume to be better than I desire it”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly was the first American publication to reprint the Communist Manifesto in English.
- Many “firsts” are attributed to her, some of those are unconfirmed, like “the first woman motorist in England” or “the first American to speak publicly about the right to privacy”.
- She liked to go on walks every day, rode horses, played sports and the piano.
- While running for the presidency, her campaign song was “Victory for Victoria”.
- She was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.