Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Marjorie J Spruill


From 1870 to1876 radical American feminist Victoria Claflin Woodhull had a dramatic public impact. At that time Woodhull was simultaneously the public face of three major social movements (woman suffrage, free love and Spiritualism), the owner of a brokerage firm, and the publisher of a radical weekly newsletter. Yet Woodhull is now largely absent from the popular narrative of nineteenth-century American history. Her radical views, charismatic personality, and unorthodox personal life resulted in demonization by a scandal-hungry popular press and persecution by the state-sanctioned, morals crusader, Anthony Comstock. Although In the past two decades a number of feminist historians and writers have restored Woodhull to historical prominence in women's history, they have failed to consider her intellectual gifts and contributions seriously enough.Woodhull is most profitably considered as an important feminist thinker whose radical ideas on political, economic and social issues uniquely contributed to Reconstruction-era public discourse.

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