Victoria Woodhull: Free Spirit for Womens Rights by Miriam Brody

Victoria Woodhull: Free Spirit for Womens Rights

byMiriam Brody

Hardcover | February 15, 2004

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At a time when women were regarded as second-class citizens, Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) led a life of many "firsts." She was the first woman stockbroker, the first woman to speak before Congress, and the first woman to run for President of the United States. Born into a poor family in rural Ohio, Woodhull took what she learned from each parent-business know-how from her scheming father and an ear to the spirit world from her religious mother-and marked out her destiny. She amassed a small fortune on the New York Stock Exchange and opened a brokeragefirm on Wall Street. With her profits she launched a newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, and ran for the U.S. Presidency. In what proved to be her downfall, Woodhull accused Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most respected ministers of her time, of committing adultery with the wife of one of his parishioners. After writing about the scandal in her newspaper, Woodhull was jailed several times and lost most of her moneyand supporters. Woodhull finally fled the United States for Britain, where she disassociated herself from her radical past, remarried, and died the wealthy widow of a British banker. Victoria Woodhull was unorthodox because of her boldness, radical because of her ambition, notorious because of herreputation, yet admired for her courage and her fight for women's rights.