On Presidents’ Day, here are some facts about the first female presidential candidate (spoiler, she was a badass. Also, read to the end – there is a lot to this woman):
name: Victoria Woodhull (born 1838 Victoria California Claflin)
sidenote: when people would ask just how liberal is she, she responded, “Liberal?! Heck, California is my middle name!” #noshedidnt #butstill)
Hometown: Homer, Ohio. (Coincidentally, this is the site of the 80 mile stop on the 100 mile Pelotonia ride to end cancer each year.) Then she moved to NYC and finally England where she died in the countryside in 1927 (88 years old!)
Father: He was a real snake oil salesman. Famously, he heavily insured his mill, then burned it down. Then, having been found to be an arson and a fraud, was subject to a first-of-its-kind “crowdfunding” by the city to raise enough money to force the Claflin’s to move out of Ohio! (true story)
Marriages: 1853, At only 15 years old, she married 29 year old Canning Woodhull (divorced him after her kids were born #BecauseAlcoholism). Then to Colonel Blood (I am not making this up). Then an affair with an anarchist before divorcing Blood in 1876. Finally, she married banker John Biddulph Martin in 1883 (in England, against his family’s wishes) until his death when she moved to the English countryside.
Children: Son – Byron (severly intelectually disadvantaged), and Daughter – Zulu – yes, Zulu – later changed to Zula.
year of campaign: 1872 (lost to U.S. Grant)
party: equal rights party
main platform: women’s suffrage, free love (later in life she expressed an anti-abortion, but pro-eugenics stance. she also recognized that the demand for abortion arises out of societal and systematic ills on a woman)
running mate: Frederick Douglass (yes, that Frederick Douglass, even though he didn’t publicly agree to be her running mate)
Backed by Wall Street: Her and her sister, Tennesee (her dad liked state names, I guess), began the first Wall Street brokerage owned by women (see photo of them whipping the “bulls & bears” of wall street) – Her sister later married a Portuguese baron and became Lady Cook, Viscountess of Montserrat #winning
Endorsed by: Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly – the newspaper she and her sister published (one of the first ever published by women)
Scandal: Arrested a few days before election for obscenity charges for an article she wrote about an adulterous affair of a prominent minister
Legacy: a 1980 musical was written about her called “Onward Victoria” with such numbers as “Magnetic Healing”, “Unescorted Women,” and “Every Day a do a Little Something for the Lord.”
AND in 2012, an Opera called Mrs. President premiered in Anchorage to a good review:
“Sentries in Union soldier uniforms at the doors of the theater nicely set the flavor of the period.”
“It rolled on like a locomotive. The thing ran two hours with intermission without lagging.”
See this video of “Unescorted Women” (starts at 9:20)
A woman should rise “from sexual slavery to sexual freedom, into the ownership and control of her sexual organs, and man is obliged to respect this freedom, then will this instinct become pure and holy; then will woman be raised from the iniquity and morbidness in which she now wallows for existence, and the intensity and glory of her creative functions be increased a hundred-fold.”
“Yes, I am a Free Lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.”
SO, tonight, raise a glass to Victoria, Mrs. President, Home(r)town hero!