Born in Ohio to a criminally-inclined father and a mother who was somewhat of a religious zealot, she inherited a flair for dramatic oratory and began claiming from an early age that she could communicate with spirits and heal the sick. They finally ended up in New York after the Civil War. There, the two women crossed paths with tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, who began consulting them extensively on matters ranging from spiritually contacting his dead wife to business deals.
Making money hand over fist, Woodhull could now really get down to the business of politics. She was also elected president of the American Association of Spiritualists, which represented the astonishingly enormous number of people in the nineteenth century who believed that the living could talk to the dead. As the election approached, she formed the Equal Rights party, using her newspaper to publicize and fund it. And, at a time when women still did not hold the right to vote, she became its nominee for President of the United States.
Her running mate? None other than a black man — the former slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Of course, Woodhull knew her Presidential candidacy would be met with skepticism at best. But the headlines were not as precise as Clinton herself:. Thanks to you, we have reached a milestone. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again. We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down.
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The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull
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False claims about U. Adam Schiff got exaggerated into even more outrageously inaccurate claims. Another example of an attack on a politician based on a misleading 'middle finger' photograph. Republicans clashed with U. At issue are so-called Milankovich cycles, which describe three periodic variations in the way the Earth rotates around the sun. Claim Victoria Woodhull, not Hillary Clinton, was the first female presidential nominee. No delegate votes have actually been cast yet.
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A lot can happen between now and the weekend of July 27th. For example, she could be indicted for her actions with the Clinton Global Initiative, and she could also be indicted for her email scandal. That honor falls to Victoria Woodhull.
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She named Frederick Douglass to be her Vice Presidential running mate. The newspaper argued for sex education, contraceptive rights, short skirts, and free love.
Recalling the First Woman to Run for President: Victoria Woodhull | James Ford
An illustration of Woodhull that appeared in Harper's Weekly in Image via Wikipedia. But women can only go about shouting for equal rights for so long. Five days before Election Day in , Victoria and Tennessee published a story alleging that a prominent preacher named Henry Beecher had engaged in an adulterous affair with one of his parishioners. The sisters noted that they were revealing this story not out of a sense of Victorian morality, but because of the sexual double standard held against women, and that Beecher wasn't their only target.
It was that sentence that got the sisters thrown into jail on charges of obscenity and libel. Although they were acquitted six months later, the damage to Victoria's candidacy was done.
She had been in jail during the election, and, as a result of taking a stand against Beecher, she gained several powerful enemies. Beecher's sister, Harrier Beecher Stowe, called Woodhull a " vile jailbird" and an "impudent witch. Beecher eventually went on trial for adultery, which ended in a hung jury.
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The trial lasted two years, and, by the end, Tennessee and Victoria were once again poor and struggling to reinvent themselves. Rumors began to swirl about the sisters working as prostitutes.
In , Victoria divorced Colonel Blood and the Weekly folded. By the end of , Victoria set off for London, where she began to give lectures and met the banker John Biddulph Martin. The two married , and Victoria spent the last years of her life presiding over his London estate as well as a castle in Portugal. She tried again to secure a nomination to run for president in in and failed. She tried for a third time in , declaring that it was her destiny to become president.
She had often written out her title as " Future Presidentess. Almost immediately, British tabloid The Daily Mail began to print stories that claimed Victoria was not fit to be president. When she threatened to sue, they published everything they had on her and Tennessee, which was a lot: accusations of blackmail and prostitution, the outstanding warrant for Tennessee's arrest from the failed cancer center, and every detail on their sordid, crazy family.
Victoria backed down and dropped her candidacy. She lied, conned, cheated, and fought to be a self-made millionaire. Had she been a man, she would have sat alongside the robber barons of the Gilded Age. Victoria Woodhull died in