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How Victoria Woodhull Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton


How Victoria Woodhull Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton

Meet the first woman to ever run for president.

by Molly Thomson

We have already made history with the first woman to ever run for president on a major ticket, and we may well make history tomorrow with the first female president our country has ever seen *knocks on glass ceiling so hard my hand starts to bleed.*

But the first woman to ever run for president was Victoria Woodhull in 1872. History has somehow swept her ferocity and accomplishments under the rug, from her presidential candidacy to her status as the first female broker on Wall Street; she was also the first woman to ever address a congressional committee.

She had a tumultuous run against Ulysses S. Grant; her attire was criticized for being too revealing (sound familiar?), and she ultimately ended up in prison on election day instead of the White House.

Woodhull ran for office 48 years before women were given the right to vote at all, so she was unable to even place a vote for herself. She was a third party candidate from the Equal Rights Party (which couldn’t have been popular at the time), and, much like Hillary Rodham Clinton, her platform focused on women’s suffrage, universal healthcare, equal pay, workers’ rights, and prison reform.

Even her running mate, the now-renowned Frederick Douglass, wanted Grant to win, and never appeared at the party’s nominating convention.

From prison (she was sentenced for obscenity charges) Woodhull penned a letter for the newspaper, saying: “They may succeed in crushing me out…let me warn them and you from the ashes of my body a thousand Victorias will spring to avenge my death by seizing the work laid down by me and carrying forward to victory.”

And a thousand Victorias have. I like to think that Victoria is watching over this election, a shadow of a smile gracing her lips. 

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