Happy Birthday Victoria Woodhull!
Know your HERstory!
This week we celebrate and honor Victoria Woodhull, born September 23, 1838, who ran for President in 1872. This amazing woman along with her sister Tennessee Celeste Claflin operated the first woman owned brokerage firm on Wall Street, and published a woman owned weekly newspaper.
Half a century before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, ratified in June, 1920, prohibiting voter discrimination on the basis of sex, Victoria Woodhull announced her intention to run for president.
On April 2, 1870, the New York Herald printed her First Pronunciamento:
“As I happen to be the most prominent representative of the only unrepresented class in the Republic, and perhaps the most practical exponent of the principles of equality, I request the favor of being permitted to address the public through the medium of the Herald.
While others of my sex devoted themselves to a crusade against the laws that shackle the women of the country, I asserted my individual independence; while others prayed for the good time coming, I worked for it; while others argued the equality of women with man, I proved it by successfully engaging in business; while others sought to show that there was no valid reason why women should be treated, socially and politically, as being inferior to man, I boldly entered the arena of business and exercised the rights I already possessed.
I therefore claim the right to speak for the un-enfranchised women of the country, and believing as I do that the prejudices which still exist in the popular mind against women in public life will not soon disappear, I now announce myself as candidate for the Presidency.
This is an epoch of sudden changes and startling surprises. The blacks were cattle in 1860; a Negro now sits in Jeff Davis’ seat in the United States Senate. Political preachers paw in the air; there is no live issue up for discussion. The platform that is to succeed in the coming election must enunciate the general principles of enlightened justice and economy.
I anticipate criticism; but however unfavorable the comment this letter may evoke, I trust that my sincerity will not be called in question. I have deliberately and of my own accord placed myself before the people as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, and having the means, courage, energy, and strength necessary for the race, intend to contest it to the close.”
By: Victoria Woodhull
On May 10, 1872, she was formally nominated by the Equal Rights Party, which selected the freed slave and powerful orator/statesman Frederick Douglass for Vice President. Victoria Woodhull stands as the first true suffraget–forcing change and unwilling to compromise.
One of the very few original woman rights advocates to live long enough to bear witness to the change she sought, Victoria Woodhull Morton died in England at age eighty-eight on June 9, 1927.
Happy Birthday, Vickie!
"Victoria-Woodhull-by-Bradley-&-Rulofson" by Bradley & Rulofson, 429 Montgomery Street, San Fancisco - Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Victoria-Woodhull-by-Bradley-%26-Rulofson.png#/media/File:Victoria-Woodhull-by-Bradley-%26-Rulofson.png