I am usually very careful in my fact checking and my research before I post an article. But in my hurry to publish the “Iron My Shirt” post, I failed to research the issue of women presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton’s run for the office has generated so much publicity that I really didn’t realize other women had blazed a path before her. And for that, I am chagrined.
Not long after I published the post, I received a couple of comments referring me to women who had, indeed, run for president. So I did what anyone would in this situation, I researched the issue and gained valuable insight into the lives of some of the earlier presidential contenders. For your enjoyment, I have listed them and provided a short statement about each.
- Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1872) pictured to the right- Ms. Woodhull was the first woman to run for president. Woodhull ran as the candidate on the Equal Rights Party opposing Ulysses S. Grant (R) and Horace Greeley (D). Woodhull fought for women’s rights and was the first woman to own a Wall Street investment firm.
- Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood (1884, 1888) pictured below – Ms. Lockwood ran for president on the Equal Rights Party and was opposed by Grover Cleveland (D) and James G. Blaine (R). Lockwood was educated in New York and Washington, D.C. She was admitted to the D.C. bar and drafted the law passed by Congress which admitted women to practice before the Supreme Court. She then became the first woman lawyer to practice before the Court.
- Margaret Chase Smith (1964) – Margaret Chase Smith (R) was the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president. Although she received 27 first ballot votes, she removed her name from contention after the first ballot.
- Shirley Anita Chisholm (1972) – Shirley Chisholm (D) was the first African-American woman to seek a major party’s nomination for president. She was on the ballot in 12 primaries and received 151.25 delegate votes at the national convention. Chisholm served in the House of Representatives from 1969 until 1083.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink (1972) – Mink (D) ran as an anti-war candidate winning 2% of the vote.
- Ellen McCormack (1976, 1980) – Ms. McCormack (D) ran as an anti-abortion candidate winning 22 convention votes. She was the first woman to qualify for federal campaign matching funds and qualified for for Secret Service protection.
- Sonia Johnson (1984) – Johnson ran on the Citizens Party; she also received federal matching funds.
- Patricia S. Schroeder (1988) – Schroeder (D) took preliminary steps toward making a run for the presidency but dropped out before the primaries because she could not raise the necessary funds.
- Lenora Fulani (1988, 1992) – Fulani ran on the New Alliance Party ticket twice and qualified for federal matching funds.
- Elizabeth Dole (2000) – Elizabeth Dole (R) resigned her position as president of the American Red Cross to consider a run for the Republican nomination for the presidency. She dropped out of the race in October, 1999.
- Carol Mosley Braun (2004) – Carol Mosley Braun (D) was among ten Democrats seeking the 2004 presidential nomination.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008) – Clinton (D) was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. She is the only First Lady to ever be elected to public office.
All of the women who had the courage to take on the run for president deserve recognition. My mistake was that I assumed that Clinton was the only woman to take on the challenge, probably because she is considered to actually have a shot at it and has received the most support.
Some of the women who preceded Clinton, though, struggled through a much more difficult time period when equality for women was considered a joke. They certainly deserve recognition for the struggles and hardships they endured in seeking the highest office in this country and opening the doors for future women to run for the presidency.