Long legacy

American women have been running for president since before suffrage

Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (Wikimedia commons)

Hillary Clinton’s run for Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential race has presented an opportunity for the former Secretary of State to become the first woman president of the United States. She is however not the first to run for the office, as noted by Quartz in a recent list of the 14 American women who have run to become the president, some of whom before most women gained the right to vote in 1920.

It all started in 1872 with Victoria Claflin Woodhull, who, with her sister, was the first female-run brokerage on Wall Street. She represented the Equal Rights Party and was arrested on the day before polling for publishing an article about another politician that was deemed “obscene.” (An equally-awesome woman was arrested for still attempting to vote for Woodhull.) Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood, the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, ran in 1884 and 1888 and also repped the Equal Rights Party, which campaigned for women’s suffrage. Some say she received close to 5,000 votes — and remember, in that election, all of those ballots would’ve come from men.

The first woman to make it to the House and Senate, Margaret Chase Smith, ran on the Republican ticket in 1964. Smith is most famous for publicly calling for a return to rights in a denouncement of fear-mongering McCarthyism before the Senate, a speech she called a “declaration of conscience,” Quartz notes.

After the civil rights movement, amazing African-American women politicians pushed their way into history’s fold. Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first non-white woman elected to Congress, went after the Democratic nomination in 1972 and held her congressional seat 13 times until 2002, when she died during campaign season (and was still elected!). Perhaps the most famous face of women candidates, the “unbought and unbossed” Shirley Chisholm, was the first African-American in the House and in 1969 took on the Vietnam War in her first floor speech. She received 10 percent of the votes in 1972 after declaring her candidacy to become the Democratic candidate. The first African-American woman to appear on the ballot across all 50 states was Lenora Fulani, who ran in 1988 and 1992.

Quartz’s full catalogue includes several influential women who all mounted White House bids in the last quarter of the 20th century, and a few who have done since the turn of the century.

Read the full list at Quartz.


Gender more of a barrier for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than race was for Obama in 2008

“Back to the Future” predicted we’d have a woman president in 2015

What America should expect from a woman president, according to a columnist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *