Running for president of the United States is no small thing, especially if the candidate is a woman. But while Hillary Clinton is the most successful presidential candidate to date, she is far from the first to run for executive office. Over the centuries, more than 200 women have sought the country’s highest office, to varying degrees of success. And leading the way for all of them was Victoria Claflin Woodhull: a 19th-century women’s rights activist and business owner.
When Woodhull began her campaign for the presidency in 1870, this was no small thing. At the time, women were still about 50 years away from having the right to vote, and even many small, seemingly mundane everyday experiences were off-limits, Judy Woodruff reports for the PBS Newshour.
“This was an era where a woman could not vote, could not enter a restaurant, a store, an establishment of any kind unless she was escorted by a man,” Scott Claflin, one of Woodhull’s descendants, told Joe Richman and Samara Freemark for Radio Diaries. “It was controversial for women to do anything. But she had the foresight not to accept the way society was.”