In post-Civil War America, the newly freed slaves had the right to vote, but women—regardless of their race—did not. In this era, Victoria Claflin Woodhull came of age politically, and was one of the leading lights in the fight for true equal rights. The first woman to testify before Congress, the first to be nominated for President (in 1872, by the Equal Rights Party), and one of the first to own her own brokerage house on Wall Street, she had very definite ideas about how to improve the lives of Americans in general and women in particular.
This volume collects some of her speeches and writings, sharing her ground-breaking ideas with a modern audience, as well as some related material. Contents include:
- A New Constitution for the United States of the World
- Constitutional Equality: the text of her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that the 14th and 15th Amendments guaranteed women the right to vote.
- A Lecture on Constitutional Equality, which Susan B. Anthony said was "ahead of anything, said or written… to help strike the chains from woman's spirit."
- Children—Their Rights and Privileges: a speech on how to restructure society to create a perfected humanity.
- And The Truth Shall Make You Free: a speech on the principles of social freedom.
- The Elixir of Life, or, Why Do We Die? which discusses sexual freedom and spirituality.
- The Garden of Eden, or, The Paradise Lost & Found, which sets out her thesis that the kingdom of god is literally within us, and nothing pertaining to the body is obscene.
Also included are texts of pertinent parts of the Constitution of the United States, and an introduction by presidential historian Ian Randal Strock.
Cover imagery: Photo of Victoria Woodhull by Mathew Brady, circa 1870. Image of House Joint Resolution 1 proposing the 19th Amendment to the states. Caricature of Victoria Woodhull by Thomas Nast, first published in Harper's Weekly, February 17, 1872. Background image: US flag with 37 stars, in use from 1867 to 1877.