Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Banging on the Door: The Election of 1872

The 1872 election echoed the current American political climate in several ways. For one, the Republican Party was in danger of splitting in two. Republican Incumbent Ulysses S. Grant was challenged by Horace Greeley with a newly formed dissident Liberal Republican Party. To make matters more confusing, Greeley was backed by the Democrats.

The distribution of voting rights was also a hot issue. In Rochester, New York, women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women went to the polls to cast a ballot. Anthony was arrested and tried.

But that same election, another women’s rights advocate, Victoria Woodhull took things a step further. She ran for president of the United States – the first woman in American history to do so. A business woman and advocate of sexual freedom, her run attracted media attention – and scandal.

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