Victoria Claflin Woodhull, later Victoria Woodhull Martin, (September 23, 1838 – June 9, 1927) was an American leader of the woman's suffrage movement.
Woodhull was an advocate of free love, by which she meant the freedom to marry, divorce, and bear children without government interference. She was the first woman to start a weekly newspaper; an activist for women's rights and labor reforms. In 1872, she was the first female candidate for President of the United States.
Woodhull went from rags to riches twice, her first fortune being made on the road as a highly successful magnetic healer before she joined the spiritualist movement in the 1870s. While authorship of many of her articles is disputed (many of her speeches on these topics were collaborations between Woodhull, her backers and her second husband Colonel James Blood), her role as a representative of these movements was powerful. Together with her sister, she was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street, and they were the first women to found a newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly.
At her peak of political activity in the early 1870s, Woodhull is best known as the first woman candidate for the United States presidency, which she ran for in 1872 from the Equal Rights Party, supporting women's suffrage and equal rights. Her arrest on obscenity charges a few days before the election, for publishing an account of the alleged adulterous affair between the prominent minister, Henry Ward Beecher, and Elizabeth Tilton, added to the sensational coverage of her candidacy. She did not receive any electoral votes, and there is conflicting evidence about popular votes.
Many of the reforms and ideals which Woodhull espoused for the working class, against what she saw as the corrupt capitalist elite, were extremely controversial in her time. Generations later many of these reforms have been implemented and are now taken for granted. Other of her ideas and suggested reforms are still debated today.
Read more about Victoria Woodhull: Early Life and Education, First Marriage and Family, Second Marriage, Free Love, Prostitution Rumors and Stance, Female Stockbroker, Newspaper Editor, Women's Rights Advocate, First International, Presidential Candidate, Life in England and Third Marriage, Death, Legacy and Honors
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... Victoria Woodhull was an American suffragist who was publicized in Gilded Age newspapers as a leader of the American woman's suffrage movement in the 19th century ... Federal Marshals arrested Victoria and her sister Tennessee for sending obscene material through the mail ... sisters were found not guilty six months later, but the arrest prevented Victoria from being present during the 1872 presidential election ...
... A cenotaph of Victoria Woodhull-Martin is located at Tewkesbury Abbey ... The Woodhull Freedom Foundation Federation, is a sexual freedom advocacy organization named in honor of Victoria Woodhull ... The 1980 Broadway musical Onward Victoria was inspired by Woodhull's life ...