Before Hillary Clinton, What's The Closest A Woman Has Come To The Presidential Nomination?
On Monday, Hillary Clinton made history as the first female presidential candidate to secure a general election bid. The Associated Press reported that Clinton possesses the required 2,383 delegates. And now that Clinton has secured the presumptive nomination with the Democratic party, she is one step closer to being the first female president of the United States, even though Bernie Sanders could theoretically win the nomination in July. But what's the closest a woman has gotten to the presidential nomination before Hillary? There are a few women who paved the way to national leadership long before Mrs. Clinton.
The first woman to run for president of the United States was Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull ran for office in 1872, even before women were allowed to vote — that wasn't until 1919 — so she was definitely ahead of her time. Woodhull ran with the Equal Rights Party against Ulysses S. Grant, who ran as a Republican, and Horace Greeley, who ran as a Democrat and Liberal Republican. What really sets Woodhull apart as a progressive female presidential candidate was the fact that she was nominated along with abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass as vice president. (It is notable, however, that Douglass did not publicly acknowledge the nomination and, according to History.com, campaigned for Grant.)
There were women who followed in the footsteps of Woodhull who would later run for president, many of whom were closer and closer to the nomination of their party — until Clinton. Patsy Mink, a former member of the House of Representatives ran for president with the Democratic Party in 1972 and was the first Asian American to run for the spot of commander-in-chief with a major party. Mink ran for office as an anti-war candidate and while she was in Congress, she authored, sponsored, and was a major leader in the establishment of the Title IX Amendment.
Another important American woman who ran for president with the Democratic party is Shirley Chisholm, who was also the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968. Chisholm was also the first black woman to run for president of the United States, also in 1972. She is known for being a trailblazer for American women long before Clinton, and she was all too familiar with what it meant to be a woman in this world. "The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, 'It's a girl,'" she once said. Chisholm ran her campaign on the platform of "equal rights and economic justice," according to TIME, and although she didn't secure the nomination, she came in fourth place at the Democratic National Convention.
May strong women continue to create change and bring power to our existence.
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