The Woman Who Ran For President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull

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9781882593101: The Woman Who Ran For President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull

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From Booklist:

Gloria Steinem introduces this groundbreaking biography of a truly remarkable and long-neglected feminist pioneer. Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to address Congress regarding the suffrage issue, the first to publish her own weekly newspaper, the first to establish and operate her own Wall Street brokerage firm, and, in 1872, the first to be a presidential candidate. Yet, despite these astoundingly impressive accomplishments and the fact that she played a pivotal role in the inauguration of the National Woman Suffrage Association, she was virtually excluded from the landmark history of the suffrage movement written by feminist stalwarts Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. According to the author, Woodhull's scandal-plagued lifestyle proved to be too controversial for most conventional suffrage supporters, and her adherence to the avant-garde doctrine of spiritualism and her vocal championship of free love and sexual emancipation eventually resulted in her banishment from the fold. As part of her relentless and zealous effort to debunk the sexual double standard that existed for men and women in Victorian society, she publicly exposed the multiple marital infidelities of renowned clergyman Henry Ward Beecher. Woodhull's denunciation of Beecher's hypocrisy culminated in her arrest, imprisonment, and self-imposed exile in Europe. An utterly fascinating, overdue tribute to an extraordinary feminist maverick as well as a significant contribution to the history of feminism and the suffrage movement. Margaret Flanagan

From Publishers Weekly:

Drawing on newly available material, Underhill, a former advertising executive, has written an outstanding study of controversial feminist Woodhull (1838-1927). Beautiful and charismatic, Woodhull and her sister made their living as spiritualists until financier Cornelius Vanderbilt established them as stockbrokers. With their wealth, they began a muckraking newspaper that argued for women's suffrage and free love. Woodhull became an influential speaker for women's rights and ran for president against Grant in 1870 as the nominee of the Equal Rights Party. Her advocacy of communism and sexual freedom (she married three times and had many affairs) angered feminists and liberals. In retaliation for his criticism, Woodhull publicized in her newspaper the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher's affair with a parishioner. This act resulted in lawsuits and effectively ended her career. She moved to London, remarried and denied her past. Underhill argues convincingly that, although Woodhull was deliberately left out of histories written by Susan B. Anthony and others, she was an important figure in the struggle for women's equality. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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