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Victoria Woodhull: Little Queen for President

2011-03-28 | 🔗

In 1872, the Equal Rights Party nominated Victoria Woodhull for president, but her radical views and an personal scandal caused her to lose many supporters. In this episode, Sarah and Deblina recount the life of the first woman to run for U.S. president.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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for info and how you can start saving today is a pagoda com. Slash a lady! continue stuff. You missed in history class from Housetop works, dot, com, hello and workers at a time when a truck avoiding an unfair doubting and we are barreling right along their women history. So far we have covered a couple of women, a pirate leader and a warrior We need, for example, who both made a name for themselves by fighting against the establishment. In this episode, however, we're gonna take a look at one who sought to become part of the establishment and kind of effect change from within Canada. Biggest part of this.
Listen exactly, and by that I mean we're about to talk about Victoria, would hall the first woman to run for president of the United States and her bed for the presidency was really remarkable and that's not just because it happened. Almost fifty years before, women even have the right to vote the legal right vote. It was miraculous cause. She had this really gotcha past. She basically came out of nowhere. The previous entry on her rather may before presidential candidate with our voice and that's something you're only to see the egg and couple years she became the leading boys in the women's rights movement through a remarkable biography yeah. You can probably doing it higher series on just in all the details of her really unconventional and turbulent, sometimes cookie, downright kooky life,
we're most going to focus on the meteoric rise that lead to hurt nomination for president and, of course, the scandal that caused at all to go horribly wrong and you'll. See that He makes today's nominees for the most part nano cases, but, for the most part, look pretty the land thoroughly their names, the name them podcast are gonna, be great. I guess get you sign up for that, and you know by that she's exciting we're not just talking about in terms of the scandal. Even her background is really fascinating and unique, so we'll get into little bit at first she was born Victoria Classmen on September, twenty third, eighteen, thirty, eight and oh hi, oh and her mom, any classless named her after then, a ten year old Queen of England is again she keeps popping up Queen Victoria, though Victoria class Lane was the fifth of seven living here
and while she was growing up per family had a lot of financial struggles. She didn't really let that get sure, though she was still very confident kid and she come upheld court on us with her family in a telling stories to the other kids and she was really smart. She had a photographic memory, and there. But you know we should mention too, because this comes into play later, that her intelligence was not educated. Intelligent she'd shilly went to school from ages eight to eleven. She was just a smart, quick learning kid can as all the vessel the school and she had the opportunity to get at the time we should say when she was nicknamed little queen because of her proud, demeanor and her. She would intensely concentrate on thing, so people thought that was very queen Langen occur to fake Madame the pompadour very similar, her dad, but class land was
rascal who just hot from job to job. I think he had something like a dozen jobs, but eventually his grand get rich scheme was to start calling two of his daughters, Victoria in Tennessee spiritual mediums and set them up. Is this travelling spiritualist medicine show which sounds like a really off the wall, idea that it wasn't quite as out there is that themes, because back had heard about this other pair of sisters from New York, Kate and mark fox, and they had earned huge amounts of money working as these traveling medium, and there was no at the time this growing interest in spiritual ism. I think that's something that comes up in the past, from time to time to, and women were very important in that movement, partly because it gave them influence. If you
speaking as a medium, nobody is really holding responsible for what you said, not quietly. If so you you could get away with some stuff like a spooky loophole. So in addition to this, Victoria had also been known, religious divisions of her own from a very young age in one for exam all a young man in a tunic supposedly told her quote one day you will lead your people, so seems kind of prophetic fur. What's coming up I cast, but a lot of historians say that it may have just been because her mother was really religious, that she said she had. These lessons were not, and we can be really sure she actually had them or not, but the environment was growing up in yeah. Definitely she might have give up on what she had seen, regardless of the motivations and inspirations. I guess, though, Victorian Tennessee did turn a pretty big profit for their family. Doing ass, though the girls want really sure how to approach it. At first
they kind of went to their down. I like what are we supposed to do and so Buck gave Victoria. This advice he said, be a good listener child, that's kind of all. He told her about we'll see that that comes into play later, following not advice, that is a sort of becomes the foundation for some of her later ideas. I think it would be awkward if your dad told you sister to go medium like I know where to start without exactly You're right, it does proved to be a really big foundation to her later believed and marriage was another big foundation of those later beliefs, and she got married for the first time when she was only fifteen years old to a doctor named canning Woodhull, and it seemed like a promising match at first, except that he turned out to be a drunk and Victoria was very unhappy and
to leave him, but because the victorian social standards and the marriage laws at the time she was trapped, her property was her husband. Then she really couldn't get out, so she ended because canning was such a drunk and also cheat and honour. I thank and just basically wasn't a great provider at that time. He was in a very successful doktor, even though he was one he didn't have that many patients, so she hardly surprising rightly so. She supported him and her two kids, Byron and Zulu I than she did a short stent with acting when they were living out on the West Coast, and then she evidently to the family business, which got increasingly sketchy as the years go by buck, actually started, claiming that Tennessee was a healer who could cure cancer and a one point later on down the road she is charged with manslaughter when a man dies cancer
kind of what I meant women didn't get to get in trouble for what they thought a clairvoyant. Unless you go there, you're gonna kill someone the answer, once you start making medical clay and half of the line, I got, though victorious though, with different from Tennessee. She wasn't out curing cancer. It was more like the job of a therapist unless she listened to people's problems often problems about unhappy, married life and hearing enough stories convinced her that in some cases of worse, was necessary and called for, and this is combined with our own experience right. So she's had her own unhappy marriage and now she's hearing us from other people. So obviously that would influence you a little about yeah starting to change her mind and this belief actually ends up come in handy when in eighteen sixty four, she moves to Saint Louis and she meets a man by the name of Colonel James Henry Blood, whose just back from the civil war he's also into spiritualism
she likes him immediately, not just because they have that in common. But he's very attractive it, so they headed off that he comes to see her as a patient and she supposedly this is the story that is told that she supposedly goes into a trance and tells him that his death needs to marry her from like a faraway voice, as if someone else assign way, they will marry me so, of course, after that, They must get married even though their both married even other, both married at the time, so they file for divorce and they get me eventually in July eighteen, sixty six, she does keep. The name would hold a which some fine to be scandalous. Some people think that, because she kept the name that meant that she never really married blood, but maybe just didn't want to be picked a blood. That's true letter which already literary Nehru, pounding but blood. The husband did have a really huge influence on victorious ideals and further shaping them.
and he becomes something of a mentor to her and exposes her to these radical ideas of the time like birth control re education and equal rights for women, and it starts to shape her into a new person with them pretty new ideas, definitely by the time factor. in her extended family moved to New York City in eighteen, sixty eight- and this was also at the direction of one of her visions by the way, by that time, she's committed to social reform She realizes that to be a real player in the fight for equality, she need some cash. Most women's rights activists at a time came from the upper middle class, so that was the example she had forgetting in Vienna three important things keep in mind for them later issue. She runs into, but Victoria in Tennessee set themselves up as clairvoyant in New York City, and they have business
Then everything merrily really going for it and they aren't making any claims about medical expertise anymore. After that, manslaughter charging and if it weren't than that, and it seems like the business have to and amazingly lucky start, because one of their first client is seventy. Three year old, multi millionaire, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, though yeah he's the kind of guy you can make your clear voice, career. I gotta instantly it's very unclear. How much does no nonsense. Rail road and shipping tycoon actually believed in the sisters, spiritual powers, but he liked them in general, and when we get down to it, he really just thought they were pretty.
you liked hanging out with pretty women. So he takes to them and Vanderbilt teaches the sisters about the stock market, and I saw a quote in american heritage. It wasn't a quote. Actually. It was said by John Gordon, the writer of this article american heritage, and he compared this to getting stock touch from Warren Buffett. So just to give all the listeners out there an example of how major this, whereas this is pretty significant person to be giving you advised So he gives them Tabs colonel blood invest money for them on their behalf, using Vanderbilt advice and suddenly they find themselves with a little bit of wealth pathos pretty quickly and Oh now that there are secure Victoria is ready to make her debut into this women's rights. Move and she does that in January. Eighteen, sixty nine, but she knows that her clairvoyant jobs it always can hold her back a little bit. She can't be reformer and a working
Wyatt or no one will take us seriously, though she gives up her old line of work and makes starts. Taking calculated stops to recreate herself again her first opportunity for reinvention comes by September, twenty fourth eighteen, sixty nine, and that happens to be black Friday on Wall Street. When the market crashed investors began selling off their stocks in a panic and factory, it basically just sat outside the exchange and bought at bargains she's supposedly made seven hundred thousand dollars by the end of eighteen, sixty nine, although some people think that she inflated that figure when she reported it she made a lot of Macedonia's ITALY's Deanna after that Victorian Tennessee. They think we're ok with ILO success.
And probably become major players on Wall Street, so they ask for Vanderbilt backing to open their own financial firm and he shows a support he gives them seven thousand dollars to to do that. It's called. Would hall class land and company and the sisters become the first female stockbrokers on Wall Street? The first of many earth spur at least Victoria, and they got a lot of attention because of this than they met a lot of really influential people, and some people came by just too soon to check out with company in a swing by and see what it's all about Walt Whitman even comes by. He says something that sounds very Walt. Whitman quote, you have given an object lesson to the whole world. You are prophecy of the few You go now that a new business card, and that's just from doing you- know a little walk through Emily.
overall, I think they had to rein in that people just walking through randomly thing, but business was good. Some people suggest that might have been because of animals. aim being behind it. I think people automatically assume that may be here pulling the strings that regardless ladys it while clairvoyant ability can have now had, could also be an aspect of it. So Victoria starts making them pretty influential friend and eventually she, unless one of them Stephen Pearl Andrews, who was very edge it also another reformer to help her buff up her educational little bare polish, her basic reading and writing skills and and sort of get a new start
air as well and so in April. Eighteen, seventy the New York Herald, begins to publish the series of articles by Victoria and she really comes out fling and for the first one she does. She says, while others of my sex devoted themselves to a crusade against the laws that shackle the women of the country. I asserted my individual independence while other prayed for the good time coming. I worked for it, while others argued the equality of women with man. I proved it by successfully engaging in business while other sought to show that was no valid reason why women should be treated socially and politically as being inferior to man. I boldly entered the arena of politics in business and exercise their rights I already possessed. I therefore claim the right to speak for the uninformed chinese women of the country and announce myself as a candidate for the presidency very go home. She dropped a bomb without one
currently Phil Ulysses S Grant was in his first term at this time, and most people are thinking that he would run again in eighteen. Seventy two, so the republican nomination, without she new that she wouldn't get the democratic nomination, though issues Gunnar her president, she was gonna, have to nominate herself and get enough support to get her name put on the mallet, though that's what she sets out to do and she has a pretty creative ways going about it. She does she launches into this whole series of kind of next steps to prepare for her. I eagerly call it a campaign I got, but it's furtive, was announced, can her unless yet and unannounced campaign a good way to put it. So she started by getting this big fancy house between Madison and Fifth Avenue is in New York Cities, Murray Hill District, which was one of the more aristocratic neighborhoods. So again we see the whole class issue coming up here. She wanted to establish herself as someone who was somebody rather than
the poor girl from Ohio. Definitely in the next thing she does this by a newspaper, yeah buying a newspaper meant that you're, someone really influential. So she does by one and she calls it would hole in classrooms weakly and she sets the sub as doing a certain number of things. Of course, first and foremost, it supports Victoria see we hope for President it's a mixture of mud, raking, fads and scandals. For example, she publishes in her publication the first english translation in the. U S of the communist manifesto to them. early Pizarro his. That was one of the things that through me for the biggest lupin, the EP thought, I think, tat sort of mentioned as a fact in her life. That seems like it should be a very big deal, but I guess you have so many different things going on it's hard to.
Make any one thing that prominent yeah, but even so she is running this newspaper and it's not is out there as it seems that had a circulation of twenty thousand people by fall. Eighteen, seventy says she has a pretty large audience reading all this Victoria Woodhull for president, but even with all this, she knows it's still going to be tough to get elected. If women can vote for her simple enough right, so she moves Washington and declares herself a lobbyist on behalf of woman suffrage, well she's in Washington. She be friends congressmen named Benjamin Butler, who helps her kind of navigate the political arena. So again, another male presence, he's kind of helping her find her way together. They decide that and actually didn't need an amendment to vote. They already had the right under current laws. This is what
kind of family related airlines. They found a loophole in the logic behind this was that the fifteenth amendment stated that the rights of Citys, the? U S shall not be denied or abridged than the Thirteenth amendment said that all persons born or naturalised in the U S or citizens. So when you put the two together, it means that all citizens have the right to vote, and since women are citizens, they have the right to vote to. Yeah fell. What all thanks to butlers info, actually becomes the first woman to a draft Congress on January, Eleventh eighteen, seventy one and get to make her case with this little Lou Poland, and try to see what but he thinks about it. It doesn't really work but suffragettes, including season, be an you were really impressed. I mean how would you not be impressed by the first woman speaking before Congress? Yeah, that's a pretty big first, so Victoria invited. Finally, she wanted this for a while, but because of her background
and because of her scandalous sort of scandalous newspaper that she had she wasn't invited before, but she was finally invited to become part of the national woman Suffrage Association, but long before it became clear to the others who remembers that Victoria wasn't just interested. women's rights she started talking about things like national public education, institutionalized welfare for the poor and perhaps the most controversial a thing she talked about free love, yeah, it's not quite the free who have like we think of today. Basically, she wanted to reform marriage laws and make man and wife equal partners in a mere, a relationship that was based on love and free will freely it sounds a little more scandalous than it was, but still it was something that was pretty radical a lot of the suffragists a lot of them were not on board with this idea at all. No, I mean
One thing: they didn't want women's rights to be diverted by other concerns, and other hand. Some of the ideas like free love were way to extreme fer. A lot of the people who are involved so regardless Victoria gave the speech about free love on Amber Twentieth, eighteen, seventy one- and this was a turning point for her because after she gave the speech, it sparked this huge Conversely, all around her and her cause people per which ignored her message: a free love, the way she had interpreted and was trying to get it across and day. took it more as something that would be considered immoral and day, probably more like. We consider free love to be now, and so she was denounced in the press. It was a big, to do yeah and leaders of the Suffrage Association withdrew their support and Phil Korea now is not backed by this group of wealthy influential women and people any more of she's splintered off with a group of
more radical women activists. For this radical group formed the Equal Rights Party which has both men and women involved and it's a party about all sorts of reforms. Basically a reform minded party and eighteen suddenly to the party nominated Victoria for president interesting, they also nominated Frederick Douglass. He was, of course, the very famous african american leader in the anti slavery movement at the time, as vice president, he turned the offer down, but would hall, of course it does accept, and in her except in speech she says quote. I have sometimes thought that here is something providential prophetic in the fact that my parents conferred upon me a name which forbids the very thought of failure so again bringing attention to her queenly name again little queen
at this time, though after she was nominated, the little Queen star was already in decline. Her views had caused her lose a lot of supporters already and her Wall Street business as well. She went broke and she got turned out of her fancy home and she had to suspend publication of her weekly suggests a really kind of fast fall. You know, because of the loss of our support and business, and also because she had put so much money into these campaigns that she was trying to pull off but it was the one last scandal that really did her n and unfortunately, it was instigated by Victoria her thoughts here's just a little background on that. The wealthy and influential beach sisters from Boston, Catherine, Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom's cabin fame. They hated Victoria. Accordingly,
author Jaclyn Mclean, who wrote a biography of Victoria, went home. The features oppose woman suffrage and were really just critical of how focal Victoria wise and everything that she dead, both in her paper and in the speeches that she gave that Victoria had some non them till she had a damn information about their brother, who was a prominent Brooklyn, pastor, Reverend Henry Ward, Beecher now Reverend Beecher an affair with the wife of one of his colleagues, possibly even needed her. She had in his carriage, very scandalous and Victoria knew about this, but she hadn't used it. Yet I mean this sort of war between the beach, her sisters and for he had been going on for some time. So we're too, if you think about it, the beach or sister, yet I mean come on. We think of them is reformers too
recently in in a new euro mentioning earlier, it is strange that they were not reformers involved in the women's movement bed, so prominent in the abolition movement, definite land- I think they were also victoria- saw them as being part of that sort of leanest upper class set. That changes astonishment. The old establishment that she just couldn't breakin Tito, so they were just I'm always at odds, because, if that that, in October eighteen, seventy two she revived the weekly for one issue, to write an expos say about the whole affair. With the reverend if either indifferent theories, but when she did this, maybe it's because the reverend, lend her money when she came to him when she was broke, Maybe it's because she just wanted to get back up. All her critics mean Leslie. The future system, especially. sister. She had been blasted in the press for her free love, ideas and she wanted to basically saying
Ok, you answer hypocrites, because I may be talking about free love. You guys are actually out their practising if you're having affairs with you know. Dear colleagues, wives, so that was sort of the motivation behind it. But the issue as you would imagine, flew off the stands, I think people were buying, not just the copies burden being used. Bees and price kept going up. So it was a very popular, but it backfired against her in a big way. Victorian. Her sister were arrested for distributing indecent literature through the mail and spent the action day itself in jail and though, after that, after a scandal of that magnitude, even her biggest supporters turned against her, though her political career, which hadn't ever really launched demeanor. But to be honest, it hadn't really gonna. ground came to an end quite suddenly, yeah. I think they were in jail for about two months and then kept getting rearrested after that for various indecency charges, libel charges, and so it was a struggle for her
that as she had to travel around again with her husband and her sister, giving speeches here and there for a little money? But people didn't really take her seriously after that, moreover, I'd show then a speaker, yours, truly interested in hearing bright, so you're kind disappoint and even after a sort of promising rise, but we'll have to wrap up the details, life a little bad. As I said at the beginning, there so much to say about her even her later life. After all of this that we could probably do separate podcast unjust, the Post election Victoria that, instead of just give you a little bit, she ends up divorcing blood in eighteen, seventy six when she catches and with another woman. So so much for free love, rare we we know she's not to care for them. Though in eighteen, seventy seven she joined up with her sister Tennessee again, five thinner, maybe they'll work better together. Move to England and they get a fresh start, but the really weird thing is: it takes a hundred
I'll than dollars for them to get to England and set up quite nicely, and most people suspect that that money came from a very prominent for a lot of people suspect that they are actually bribed to leave the country by Vanderbilt son, William. After his death and that's because of some feuding that was going on between the Vanderbilt siblings over their inheritance and William, since he got the biggest chunky was afraid that the other siblings we're gonna, try to prove that their her father was not well in his mind when he made out his will and use the Thea Uclaf when sisters. Unfortunately, as an example of why he was, Well Sir, William might have bought them, often sent them.
England yeah is quite likely that somebody dead and it was probably him because they really don't have any money about point. They went on in much on the on Victoria speech Circuit. It's a good offer for them to taken now, because once they're they're, both of the ladys end up becoming rich again, these women have made seventy fortunes and lost their many this time at the old fashioned way they just Mary, read and Victoria. I think he mentioned she actually, ends up inheriting, not just her husband's fortune, but his fathers as well yeah, unfortunately cheer her new husband who loves her by all accounts. He after he dies. I think he dies, maybe a day after a few days his father dies. So she inherits a ton of money and retires to the english countryside with her letters Lou.
They spend the rest of their life kind of funding, these philanthropic efforts in like education and so forth, and she lives to be eighty eight. She lives to be. Eighty eight she dies June nineteen twenty seven in her sleep, seven years after american women were granted the right to vote here, though this color reminded me little bit of our chinese pirates of the third. In that it, and so well, is usually, I feel like our pike has, even if their upbeat they have kind of a tragic ending, not Aslan yeah. This sort of a happy ending, because I think that she did Wanna redeem her her name in her character. imagine maybe never quite got where she wanted to get without, but a comfortable and account level ending a peaceful kind of ending, so in the end, we have today convict when will the whole, but we do have left her male. We do have one
very you just and I dont crossed the dragon. Lady podcast in this letter is about and that his friend genies engineers besides your names, that about shop- and she says, I'm really enjoying the dragon. Lady podcast on proud member of the international wenches skilled, and I have played a pirate and my home renaissance fairs before it was cool. Just a little that, regarding your bet about the no raping women, really, you are discussing the notorious pirate black beard and Prince Edward TEETH, was well known to be ambitious barbarian. However, he loved women for violent, crazy antics. He did not tolerate raped abuse or man handling of women. In any way the punishment was death. He had multiple wise and several words and allegedly shower them with guests and loving gestures he treasured when
demanded that his crew do the same guess he couldn't be all bad so far, hackers stuck in a beard here. Not all have been much there. Three eyes, you have any more suggestions or comments. You wanna tender feel free to email that history pie cast at house networks. Dotcom were also on Twitter missed in history and round faced Berkeley check them both regularly, though that the great way to draw the line, we want to learn a little bit more about the president. If we have an article called how they left president, can you can find it by fetching our homepage at W W W Thou hast Doc
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