Saturday, April 12, 2008

It Could Have Been Madam President

Some thoughts on Victoria Woodhull.

She comes to mind because this is a presidential election year and Hillery Clinton is seeking her party's nomination as its candidate. Victoria Woodhull, however, was the first woman to run for President of the United States.

The time was 1872. Victoria Claflin Woodhull was already famous. She was born into a family of hypnotists, spiritualist's and medical eccentrics. She gained some fame when she and her sister charmed Commodore Vanderbilt with their spiritualists powers. He became their investment counselor and the Woodhull's made a lot of money in the market.

Victoria lectured and joined her sister in publishing a weekly newspaper where she informed her readers she was destined for public office.

She formed the Equal Rights Party and cast herself to run for president.

Her campaign platform was probably her undoing. She advocated free love.

A group of New Yorkers, upset over her constant attacks on the sanctity of the family got together to drive her from the city. She spent more time fighting eviction than campaigning and lost the election.

Eventually ill health and finances brought her political career to a close. Victoria Woodhull went to England and married a prominent British banker.

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