2016 was the first election in which a woman won the nomination of a major political party to be president of the United States. But women have been legally running for president as far back as 1872, decades before they could even vote. Since then several dozen women have run for president, almost all of them long shots with nearly no chance of winning. But these long odds do not negate their story and their campaigns tell us much about the times in which they lived.
In this episode I talk with Richard Lim, host of This American President Podcast. We look at the lives of these fascinating figures
- Victoria Woodhull, the 1872 candidate who ran a brokerage firm through the patronage of Cornelius Vanderbilt. She was as a 31-year-old spiritualist, radical communist, and possible former prostitute with a remarkably canny ability to reinvent herself
- Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine and the first woman to serve in both houses of the U.S. congress (she was Senator for 24 years). Smith was an early critic of McCarthyism and a 1964 presidential candidate who fashioned herself as the female Eisenhower.
- Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, a 1972 presidential candidate, and an unlikely friend of George Wallace(!)
- Edith Wilson, the First Lady who essentially acted as de facto president following the stroke of her husband Woodrow Wilson in 1919 until March 1921.