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Mrs Victoria Woodhull Martin

Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin, born on September 23, 1838, in Homer, Ohio, was a pioneering figure in the fight for women's rights, suffrage, and social reform in the United States during the 19th century. Her life was marked by resilience, controversy, and a relentless pursuit of equality.

Early Life and Activism: Victoria was born into a humble family, the seventh of ten children. Despite limited formal education, she demonstrated exceptional intellect and a thirst for knowledge. Together with her sister, Tennessee Claflin, she embarked on a journey of activism and entrepreneurship.

Women's Suffrage Movement: Victoria emerged as a prominent voice in the women's suffrage movement, advocating not only for women's right to vote but also for broader social and economic equality. In 1871, she became the first woman to address a congressional committee, where she passionately argued for suffrage.

The "Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly": In 1870, Victoria and her sister launched a radical publication called "Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly." The newspaper tackled controversial topics such as women's suffrage, labor reforms, and free love. It also serialized Karl Marx's "Das Kapital," making it the first publication to introduce Marx's ideas to the American public.

Presidential Campaign: In 1872, Victoria made history by becoming the first woman to run for President of the United States. She ran under the banner of the Equal Rights Party with abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass as her running mate. Despite not being eligible to vote herself, her campaign challenged societal norms and demanded equal political participation for women.

Champion of Free Love: Victoria was a vocal advocate of "free love," a concept that rejected traditional marriage and advocated for the freedom to engage in consensual relationships. Her views on sexuality and marriage were radical for the time and often brought her into conflict with mainstream society and suffrage leaders like Susan B. Anthony.

Later Years: Following her presidential bid, Victoria continued her activism, focusing on issues such as labor rights, divorce reform, and spiritualism. She remarried twice, the second time to banker James H. Blood and then to Colonel John Biddulph Martin. Despite facing financial difficulties and public scrutiny, she remained undeterred in her pursuit of social justice.

Legacy: Victoria Woodhull Martin's contributions to the women's rights movement were groundbreaking. Although her ideas were controversial and often ahead of their time, they laid the groundwork for future generations of feminists and activists. Her relentless advocacy for gender equality and individual freedom continues to inspire and resonate with those fighting for justice today.


  1. Gabriel, Mary. Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored. Algonquin Books, 1998.
  2. Frisken, Amanda. Victoria Woodhull's Sexual Revolution: Political Theater and the Popular Press in Nineteenth-Century America. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
  3. Goldsmith, Barbara. Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull. Vintage, 1999.
  4. Meade, Marion. Free Woman: The Life and Times of Victoria Woodhull. Knopf, 1976.

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