Salute To Iconic Women: Victoria Woodhull

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Mar. 20 2013, Published 3:00 a.m. ET

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“I come before you to declare that my sex are entitled to the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” — Victoria Woodhull

Occupation: American leader of the women’s suffrage movement

How she made her mark: Victoria Woodhull was an advocate for “free love” – the freedom to marry, divorce, and bear children without the interference of the government. She and her sister were also the first women to open a brokerage firm on Wall Street. Using the money they made from the brokerage, they started the first newspaper by women titled Woodhull & Claflin Weekly. Weekly became notorious for publishing stories on sex education, free love, women’s suffrage, short skirts, vegetarianism, spiritualism, and licensed prostitution. In the 1870s she joined the spiritualist movement and became a highly successful magnetic healer. In 1872 she became the first female candidate for presidency, running from the Equal Rights Party which supported women’s suffrage and equal rights. Many of her ideals and reforms were controversial during her time. Today some are implemented and some are still being debated.

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