Victoria Woodhull (1838 - 1927) was a feminist stockbroker, politician, publisher, and advocate of free love.

She and her sister Tennessee Claflin were born in Ohio, and were raised in a travelling medicine show, where they had a spiritualist and faith healing act. At 15 she was married to an alcoholic snake oil doctor, but the marriage quickly ended in divorce.

Backed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who admired their skills as spiritualists, the sisters opened a bank on Wall Street and became successful stockbrokers.

Woodhull ran for President of the United States in 1872 -- she was nominated by the National Woman's Suffrage Association. Frederick Douglass was nominated as her running mate. Though she was backed by most prominent U.S. feminists, she was a bit of a loony -- privately convinced that the spirit of Demosthenes had told her to run for office.

Soon afterwards she and her sister started a newspaper, the Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly. It had a feminist focus and agitated for reforms in politics and business. The Communist Manifesto was first published in the U.S. in the pages of Woodhull's paper.

Woodhull fought for women's right to divorce their husbands; she spoke in favor of free love -- meaning that women should make their own decisions about their sexuality. She was notorious for publishing information about birth control.

Her paper published a scandalous story about Reverend Henry Ward Beecher's affair with a married woman. Beecher's powerful friends got Victoria and Tennessee arrested on charges of sending obscene materials through the U.S. Mail.

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