Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The prostitute who ran for president...

Leaving only a marble plaque in a churchyard in the Cotswolds, where she spent the final decades of her controversial life, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman nominated by a political party to run for president of the US.

Almost forgotten in today’s rush to hail Hillary Clinton’s groundbreaking nomination, Woodhull achieved that against far tougher odds 48 years before American women won the vote in 1920.

A handsome woman, inevitably squeezed into a high-collared black dress and with short dark hair, Woodhull was formidable: a 19thcentury mix of Margaret Thatcher, Madonna and Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

She was one of the first women to open a stock brokers on Wall Street and publish a newspaper.

A pioneering advocate for women’s suffrage, birth control and legalised prostitution she was elected the nominee for the Equal Rights Party, the largest third party in the 1872 US presidential election.

But her steamy love life shocked Victorian sensibilities with her three marriages and allegations – possibly promulgated by enemies – that she ran a brothel.

Others were offended by her belief in spiritualism and clairvoyance. Full story...

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