Rebels Across History

The First Female Candidate For Prez:
Victoria Woodhull

"While others argued the equality of woman and man, I proved it by successfully engaging in business".

Born in 1838 to a religious mother and a deadbeat father, Woodhull's beginnings hardly indicate that she would one day be the first female candidate for presidency. Nor did her marriage at fourteen to an alcoholic doctor. But soon enough, Woodhull ditched the husband and was back on an enterprising track, acting as a medium alongside her sister, Tennie, for her father's new "spiritual healing" business. The two sisters traveled the country as fortune tellers, gaining attention for both their supposed skills and womanly charm. By 1866, Victoria had married again-- this time to an ex-war hero named Colonel Blood.

Two years later, she met the shipping magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who she and Tennie soon began performing private seances for. This brought social prominence to the duo (not to mention more dough), and Victoria seized this opportunity to enter the business world. She at first tried her hand at gold speculation, but failing that, decided to become a politician. Vanderbilt arranged ads and interviews in newspapers, and soon Victoria was attending the first convention of the National Women's Suffrage Association and starting a succession of newspapers. Her motto was "Onward and Upward", and at first it seemed to be true. Her utter femininity paired with a sharp business eye and rising prominence in the political world made her a woman to talk about. Believing her own hype, she accepted the nomination from the Equal Rights Party to run for president.

Victoria lost credibilty rapidly after this decision. She was bashed for writing an article about a well-known minister's adulterous affair, court cases were brought against her for non-payment of debt and "obscene literature", and her beliefs on free love were ridiculed openly by her competitors. Needless to say she did not win the election of 1872, and in fact spent election day in jail on a charge of sending obscene material through the mail.

The rest of Victoria Woodhull's life passed dully after a move to England. She did a few lecture tours to speak on sexual liberation, and once returned to New York to run again for president. Following her death in 1927, her remains were quietly shipped back to the States for burial.

Victoria was a true rebel, different than many of my own female heroes because of her ability to retain her femininity throughout her endeavors. She used her fame to bring attention to women's suffrage and sexual liberation, and reveled in the idea that sex meant pleasure not only for men, but women.

Wild Women by Autumn Stephens
Women Out of Bounds by Jane Robinson


  1. I absolutley love what your blog stands for, Female emporwerment. Have you ever featured Lolita Lebron??
    ill keep reading :)

  2. I love this blog so much!

    I found some "rebel pics" at my favorite feminist website...



From one rebel to another...