The Untold Truth Of The First Woman To Run For President

Douglas Adams, author of the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker Trilogy, phrased it elegantly, in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: "To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Young or old, male or female, regardless of political affiliation, President of the United States is not a great job. Constant arguing, constant criticism, constant threats at home and abroad, and every so often, someone is going to try to kill you. Which nevertheless does not stop people from running. Hillary Clinton has made major headlines for a number of reasons over the course of her life and career, both as first lady of the United States and as a political power in her own right, including a losing run at the presidency in 2016. Many people agreed that it was about time a woman was taken seriously as a candidate for the nation's highest office. "Taken seriously" is a relative term, of course, because as far back as 1872, a woman named Victoria Woodhull made a fair stab at it, as related by History.

Controversy could have been her middle name

Some historians disagree with the classification, partly because that's what historians do and partly because, in point of fact, Woodhull was technically too young to be elected — she wouldn't turn 35 until some months after the inauguration. It doesn't seem to have bothered too many people, and that's perhaps because no one took her all that seriously.

Serious or not. Woodhull, described as a leader in the women's suffrage movement, was also an advocate of what was termed "free love," though not in the sense the Hippies used it; she advocated for a woman's freedom to marry, divorce, and bear children (or not) free of government interference. Prior to her presidential run she and her sister had become the first female stock brokers, tells us, with their own Wall Street brokerage. She also founded and ran her own newspaper.

Woodhull announced her candidacy for the presidency with a letter to the editor of the New York Herald in 1870. She was the 1872 presidential candidate of the Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass, the former slave and outspoken abolitionist, as her running mate, though he never acknowledged the nomination and didn't attend the nominating convention.

As for the election, history buffs know that she received not a single electoral vote. Ulysses S. Grant was reelected to the highest office in the land. She tried again in 1884 and 1892, but failed then, too. She died in 1927 at the age of 88.