The girl who changed the way women live.

Who was Victoria Woodhull?

Victoria Woodhull

Have you ever heard that women used to not have rights? Well most of that was changed by young Victoria Claflin born on September 23, 1838. Victoria was extremely radical as a child and she first made history in 1872, but this is her childhood we are talking about this moment. She and her other siblings were beat by their father but young Victoria kept her head held high. As a child, Victoria’s siblings used to go out of the house at dinner time and beg for food but Victoria refused to beg for the food. One night, Victoria went around the neighborhood asking if she could do chores to be paid afterwards. She met a young woman named Rachel that same night and Rachel immediately fell in love with Victoria. Rachel took care of Victoria with important things like brushing Victoria’s hair and feeding Victoria. Soon enough, Victoria’s father realized what a beautiful voice she had and sent her off to work as a child preacher.


In the year 1868, Victoria and her sister, Tennessee, went to New York City. While they were in New York they found a man named Cornelius Vanderbilt. He was wealthy but he was a widower because his wife died many years before he met Victoria. He liked the “psychological solace” that Victoria was giving him. Vanderbilt set Victoria and Tennessee up in a business where the two women worked together. Victoria and Tennessee became the first women to own a brokerage company. People were very surprised at this -mostly men- because they had thought that women could not handle companies like Victoria and Tennessee did.


Victoria had many relationships with people throughout the years which led the press to write about her life. She was questioned about her social reform ideas and that was held against her. Her support of socialism -which was radical at the time- may have alienated certain people because they did not usually like it. Victoria wanted women to have rights and she often spoke about it to her friends and people on the streets and made speeches. One time she even contacted Congress about the issue because she felt brave that she could make a change. Victoria wanted to be publicly active so she made an Equal Rights Party for women. When people heard about it some people made fun of her for thinking that she could make a change. Some evidence shows that Frederick Douglass ran beside her in the Equal Rights Party for women because he believed that women should have rights. He thought the same as Victoria on the laws. The evidence does not show how involved Frederick actually was with the Party, he might not have been too involved.


Remember Victoria’s friend, Rachel? She died all of a sudden and Victoria had not heard about it until she came home with her family and there was a coffin in the living room. Victoria was very, very sad and barely ever came out of her humble home for months. After coming out of her little bubble of depression after a while, she remarried and wanted to start over with her life. Soon after she got married, she made a huge speech explaining her thoughts on women not having rights and how it could be if women did have rights. Applause erupted in the crowd at the end of the speech. Men threw their hats while women clapped and some women even cried openly.


Victoria Canning Woodhull died on June 10, 1927. People will always remember her and her good deeds to society and for women. Victoria Woodhull contributed many valid points of why women should have rights.