It's Time To Vote Women Into Office
Victoria Woodhall: The First Woman U.S. Presidential Candidate
Most American women didn’t win the right to vote until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, but the first female candidate for president came nearly 50 years earlier. In 1872, Ohio native Victoria Woodhull made history when she ran as the Equal Rights Party candidate against incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant. Her platform included such progressive reforms as an eight-hour workday, women’s suffrage, and an end to the death penalty, and she rounded out the groundbreaking ticket by selecting abolitionist Frederick Douglass as her running mate.
Woodhull was a pioneer even before she launched her bid to shatter the political glass ceiling. She’d spoken before Congress regarding equal voting rights and had opened the first woman-owned brokerage firm on Wall Street. Woodhull failed to score any electoral votes on Election Day, and there’s no record of how she fared in the popular vote. Even if she had won, she would have been barred from residence in the White House—though not because of her gender. The Constitution requires that presidents be at least 35 years old upon their inauguration. Woodhull would have been just 34.
In the years since Woodhull’s trailblazing campaign, dozens of other women have made bids for the presidency. Despite not being able to vote for herself, suffragette Belva Ann Lockwood garnered 4,149 votes in 1884. Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith later won 227,007 votes in the 1964 Republican primary but fell short of getting the nomination.
Frederick Douglass: The First Black U.S. Presidential Running Mate.
Frederick Douglass was a formerly enslaved man who became a prominent activist, author, and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War. After that conflict and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, he continued to push for equality and human rights until his death in 1895.
Douglass’ 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, described his time as an enslaved worker in Maryland. It was one of five autobiographies he penned, along with dozens of memorable speeches, despite receiving minimal formal education.
An advocate for women’s rights, and specifically the right of women to vote, Douglass’ legacy as an author and leader lives on. His work served as an inspiration to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond.
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in or around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. Douglass himself was never sure of his exact birth date. His mother was an enslaved Black women and his father was white and of European descent. He was actually born Frederick Bailey (his mother’s name), and took the name Douglass only after he escaped. His full name at birth was “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.”
After he was separated from his mother as an infant, Douglass lived for a time with his maternal grandmother, Betty Bailey. However, at the age of six, he was moved away from her to live and work on the Wye House plantation in Maryland.
From there, Douglass was “given” to Lucretia Auld, whose husband, Thomas, sent him to work with his brother Hugh in Baltimore. Douglass credits Hugh’s wife Sophia with first teaching him the alphabet. With that foundation, Douglass then taught himself to read and write. By the time he was hired out to work under William Freeland, he was teaching other enslaved people to read using the Bible.
Eight Years Later: Comes Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm.
The Democratic National Convention was a tense scene in July of 1972. The gathering in Miami came just one month after burglars had broken into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. The candidate who won the presidential nomination would be the one to take on President Richard Nixon, whom most people didn’t yet suspect of orchestrating the break-in. And for the first time, one of the candidates for the Democratic challenger was a Black woman.
Shirley Chisholm had long been known for breaking barriers. Four years before, she’d become the first Black U.S. Congresswoman in history as a Representative of her New York district. When she launched her primary campaign in January of ‘72, she became the first Black person to seek the presidential nomination from one of the two major parties (the first woman was Margaret Chase Smith, who sought the Republican nomination in 1964). Her slogan was: “Unbought and Unbossed.”
Shirley Chisholm campaign poster.
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gifted with pride from Ellen Brooks
From the beginning, white male journalists and politicians didn’t take her bid seriously. Norman Mailer called her campaign “quixotic” in the Wall Street Journal, writing that “few politicians, Black or white, believe it.” Chisholm’s strongest supporters were Black women, but she struggled to win support from Black men and white women. Many of them endorsed Senator George McGovern because they felt he was more likely to win against Nixon. (McGovern won the nomination and lost to Nixon in a landslide.)
The National Consensus Party is here to address historical concerns, both inside and outside of cannabis. NCP is taking the necessary steps to insure, women have a fair shot at all future Presidential Elections. We are asking women to take part and assist in achieving this goal. As a Presidential Electoral Party, NCP needs women to help with taking the lead in identifying the best way forward.