Victoria Woodhull

By: Cindy Vinay 6th period

Brief Background

Victoria Woodhull was a women's rights activist in the late 1800's who used bold and daring acts and the media of the time to advocate her cause. Her ideals include free love, divorce, birth control, and socialism. She participated in muckraking and exposing injustices, scandals, and hypocrisies. Throughout her lifetime she defied the standard or conventional image of women by becoming the first female stock broker, the first woman to own newspaper, which she used to forward her own causes, and the first woman to run for president of the United States of America.
Victoria Woodhull

Woodhull and "Civil Disobedience"

Victoria Woodhull advocated women's rights and denoted injustice through the civil disobedience described by Henry David Thoreau. She used her newspaper to insight rebellion just as Mr. Thoreau used books to encourage rebellion against government legislation that are unnecessary or unconstitutional. More specifically, Woodhull was arrested when she published a scandalous affair in her newspaper and this is similarly reflected by Thoreau when he was arrested for his refusal to pay his taxes. Woodhull's unconventional newspaper and its articles inspired rebellion and action even at the cost of her freedom which corresponds to Thoreau's own rebellion for freedom and against a stifling government. Furthermore, Thoreau's view that "this is, in fact the definition of a peaceable revolution" is shared by Woodhull and shown through her peaceful protest against domesticated roles for women. Also, Thoreau's belief that "the only obligation which [he has] a right to assume is to do at any time what [he] think right" is clearly a topic Woodhull would have agreed on. Her choice to doggedly pursue equality for women, produce scandal and gossip throughout the nation, and continuously stick to her beliefs despite opposition display a desire to do what she believes is right. Overall, Thoreau and Woodhull, although rebel's for two different causes, share many of the same ideals and methods.