18
Oct

Victoria Woodhull

   Posted by: David   in Uncategorized

Victoria Woodhull

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When I tell people that Victoria Woodhull is a great hero to me, when I say that her life is an inspiration, most people scratch their head and say, “Who?”

It astounds me that most Americans have never known the woman that her fans call, “America’s Queen Victoria.”

She was born Victoria Claflin in a wooden shack nestled to the side of a hill on the outskirts of a small town in Ohio, September 23, 1838. She was 10 years old when the Fox sisters pioneered the way for gifted mediums.

Victoria was the sixth of ten children. Her father was a scoundrel. He once took a job as postmaster so he could steel money from envelops that contained cash. He is probably one of the reasons why even today it is unwise to send cash through the mail.

Victoria’s family was run out of one town after another either by the law or by angry neighbors her father had in one way or another swindled.

Her mother, Roxanna Hummel Claflin was likely the person she inherited her spiritual sensitivity from. Her sister younger Tennessee was also a gifted medium. The two sisters would later partner and change the course of history and yet their remarkable achievements are largely forgotten.

Before she reached adolescence Victoria had a strong relationship with a primary spirit guide and gatekeeper, an essential relationship for any public medium. By the time Victoria was 14 and her sister Tennessee was 7, they were professional mediums and the primary wage earners for the entire Claflin family including their parents. It was not uncommon for them to work 14 hour days. Though she would not join the Spiritualist movement until the 1870s, she was a practicing and successful medium years before.

In the early 1850’s Victoria met the man of her dreams. Barely a teenager she met and fell in love with a man who claimed to be a doctor. After a five month courtship she married Canning Woodhull and on November 20, 1853, she became Victoria Woodhull.

Canning’s credentials were false. He was a liar, a cheat, and an alcoholic who, if he wasn’t spending their money on liquor, he was spending it on other women. He was a habitual adulterer.

When she finally discovered that the man she married wasn’t who he, at first, pretended to be, she said, “Rude contact with facts chased my visions and dreams quickly away, and in their stead I beheld the horrors, the corruption, the evils and hypocrisy of society, and as I stood among them, a young wife, a great wail of agony went out from my soul.”

Victoria soon learned that she would have to support her husband as she had her family. She would once again support her parents and siblings with the exception of her sister and partner Tennessee, but by this time she’d given birth to an intellectually disabled child that she would support for the rest of her life.

Given a dead beat husband, a criminal father, siblings to support, and an alcoholic cheating husband all in the Victorian era, a time when woman had no voice and very little if any rights how many could have exceeded their wildest expectations for their life?

Victoria did.

She began to listen to her spirit guide; she began to obey his leadership even when what he told her either didn’t make sense or was far beyond what she thought was possible. At one point her guide gave her specific instructions to move to New York and he told her exactly where he wanted her to live. Victoria obeyed her spirit guide and the more she obeyed the more magical her life became.

What was her attitude?

I think this quote sums it up, “It makes no difference who or what you are, old or young, black or white, pagan, Jew, or Christian, I want to love you all and be loved by you all, and I mean to have your love.”

Victoria was motivated by love.

She supported those who took advantage of her.
She wanted the best for everyone and she worked to make the world better for future generations.

She was rebuked, marginalized, and ridiculed.

To her critics she said, “I shall not change my course because those who assume to be better than I desire it.”

Having married a man who presented well but almost immediately after their wedding day revealed his true colors, Victoria advocated for “free love.” In the Victorian age women were, for all practical purposes, the property of their husbands. Free love in the 1960s was about promiscuity. In the late 19th century it was about a woman’s right to choose to remain in or opt out of a relationship.

Victoria said, “I am a free lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please.”

Do you have any idea how radical that statement was in the 1870s?

A few of Victoria’s accomplishments include but are not limited to:

Victoria was the psychic adviser to Cornelius Vanderbilt, at first to connect him to his deceased parents but later as financial and investment adviser.

Victoria was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street. She’d already made a fortune investing on Wall Street. One report has her earnings in excess of $700,000 in a six week period. But in 1870, she and her sister Tennessee became the first women stockbrokers when they opened their brokerage house Woodhull, Claflin & Company.

© Copyright 2007 Corbis Corporation

Claflins Denied Vote

Of her emergence into the “man’s world” of the New York Stock Exchange she said, “For a woman to consider a financial question was shuddered over as a profanity.” But customers lined up at her door because she was successful and she was able to make them successful as well.

Also in 1870 Victoria was the first woman to found a newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly.

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Victoria was the first woman to run for the office of President of the United States. She ran in 1872 almost 50 years before women won the right to vote in the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

 

Victoria was also an advocate of the working class.

Victoria crossed over on June 9, 1927 and left in her wake a legacy that as far as I know is unprecedented and unmatched.

People complain about the circumstances of their lives, about the supposed insurmountable obstacles that stand between them and their dreams. If you are one of these people, I encourage you to study the life and example of Victoria Woodhull and then tell me: What is stopping you?

Much love,
David

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