You would think if a woman ran for President in the 1870s it would be a big thing in history. Well, apparently it’s not.
I don’t remember ever learning about Victoria Woodhull while I was in school. And I only recently learned about her, thanks to Twitter. I immediately went to the online catalog and looked for books about Victoria Woodhull. Luckily, they had a few.
I borrowed one titled, Free Woman: The Life and Times of Victoria Woodhull. It was over 170 pages long and I learned quite a bit about her. The library has another biography about her that I want to borrow eventually.
Victoria Woodhull was an activist for women’s rights, labor reform, marriage reform, and many other things. Victoria and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, were the first women to open a Wall Street brokerage firm. And it was successful. Victoria was also the first woman to run for President.
Mrs. Woodhull even shocked other feminists of her day with her ideas of equality for women. And it seems, from what I’ve read, they often weren’t very kind to her. She was for them, fighting for women’s rights, but they definitely didn’t fight for her.
When Susan B. Anthony, and a few other women, published a history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, Victoria Woodhull was left out entirely.
In the final chapter of the book I read, the author said that historians say Victoria Woodhull set feminism back a hundred years. The author said in a sense it is true she did. I don’t agree with that. After learning about Victoria Woodhull, I have nothing but respect for her. She did things in her time that no other women were doing. Or really, were allowed to do. She didn’t care about whether she was allowed or not. She was a human being and she fought for the rights she and all other women should have had to begin with.
I think she is amazing, but I do feel bad for all that she went through. And I really hope one day children will be able to learn about her in school along with all other big names in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
Have you ever heard of Victoria Woodhull?