On Nov. 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote. Another 48 years would pass before all American women could legally do so.
Today, the United States ranks 91st among the world's countries when it comes to the share of women in our national legislature. Women make up no more than 25 percent of the people holding public office at any level of government. And the AP rather anticlimatically granted Hillary Clinton a place in U.S. history as the first women ever to become a major party's presumptive nominee at 9 p.m., on June 6. But make no mistake: What has happened is a significant thing, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) and Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
"The journey to this moment is a long one and truly a struggle," Walsh said."It's important to remember."
So, The Fix took up the challenge.
With the help of comprehensive lists compiled by the Center and its Gender Watch Project, we compiled mini bios on women who not only launched bids for the White House but also accomplished one or more political firsts. Jo Freeman, author of the book, "We Will Be Heard: Women's Struggles for Political Power in the United States," has an even longer list here that's also worth checking out. And the center and Gender Watch also have more comprehensive lists, photos and a run down on the women who have also run for vice president.
Since you will probably hear and read a lot about Clinton today, we left her off our list, along with recent women who have run and not gone far, such as Carly Fiorina. (Our editor insisted we keep it short-ish — no disrespect to Patsy Takemoto Mink, Sonia Johnson or Carol Mosley Braun.)
Once you start reading, you will probably notice a few patterns, some things Clinton has in common with the other women on this list. Clinton is a lawyer who attended an Ivy League school and has more education than the average woman. Much of her professional and political work has centered on women's rights, education, children's health and welfare. She has run for the White House twice. And during those runs, she's faced some queries and criticisms that really don't come up when men run for the White House. Let's just say there aren't many women who could run for the White House with Sen. Bernie Sanders's demonstrated aversion to hair brushes, irons or smiles.
Take a look.
The other women who have run for president
Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1872)
When the nation was just a wee 96 years old, Woodhull became the very first woman to run for U.S. president. The other contenders that year? Just the incumbent president, one Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (R), and New York newspaper publisher, onetime congressman and co-founder of the Republican Party Horace Greeley (Liberal Republican with Democratic Party support). Like several of the women on this list, Woodhull ran as the representative of a minor party, the Equal Rights Party. But she was no minor figure. Woodhull came from a family of traveling spiritualists, made a fortune as a magnetic healer and was an early and vocal advocate of women's rights — particularly the franchise and the ability to marry, divorce and have children at will and the legalization of sex work. Doing any of the aforementioned in the 19th century typically resulted in a woman being ostracized. And when the twice-married, once-divorced Woodhull ran for the White House, there were rumors that she had once worked as a prostitute. One final note about Woodhull: She and her sister also founded a newspaper and became the first women to own a Wall Street investment house in 1870, where they earned a second mint.
Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood (1884 and 1888)
Lockwood is one of those women who really did a lot in a lifetime, including breaking several longstanding barriers for women. Lockwood began teaching at 14, married at 18 and when she became a widow just a few years later, earned her college degree with honors despite the objections of some students and administrators at the school. But Lockwood wasn't done. She went back to work as a teacher, quickly becoming the principal and leader of a series of girls' schools. Lockwood agreed with her contemporary Susan B. Anthony that girls should have access to better-quality education, and she transformed the curriculum at these schools to leave girls equipped with things like public speaking skills. She moved to Washington, opened what was then something rare — a co-ed school — and studied law. She became one of the first women to practice in the United States and the first woman to join the list of lawyers allowed to argue before the Supreme Court. In 1879, Lockwood had to petition Congress for permission to do the latter. Lockwood ran for the White House twice as the National Equal Rights Party's candidate. She was also a pacifist and a supporter of the temperance movement.
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (1964)
Republicans, get ready to pat yourselves on the back for this one. In 1964, Smith became the first woman nominated on a convention floor for the presidency by a major party. That party was the GOP. She even earned 27 first-ballot votes on at the party's convention before removing herself from contention. Much like several of the women on this list, Smith once worked as a teacher and served in the House of Representatives. During the first of her four terms in the House, Smith succeeded her husband, a congressman who had died. She went on to serve four additional terms in the Senate, making her the first woman to ever serve in both congressional bodies and, until 1995, the longest-serving female member of the Senate. During her tenure, Smith was deeply involved in national security and military matters and an early critic of McCarthyism. Smith made a famous speech, known as "The Declaration of Conscience," in which she did not mention Sen. Joseph McCarthy by name but critiqued the methods of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The text at the link above is absolutely worth a read.
Shirley Chisholm (1972)
Chisholm, the daughter of Caribbean immigrant parents, was the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress and the first black woman to vie for a a major party's presidential nomination. A Democrat, Chisholm managed to appear on primary ballots in 12 states and earned just over 150 delegate votes at the party's convention. Before her time on the national political stage, Chisholm worked as a teacher and administrator at childcare centers, earned a master's degree from Columbia University's Teacher's College and served in the New York state legislature. While a state lawmaker, Chisholm succeeded in expanding unemployment benefits to domestic workers — a group that at the time consisted largely of black women — and creating a program to help students from poor families attend college and get any remedial education needed after attending low-quality public schools. In Congress, Chisholm represented a district based in New York City but was initially assigned a role on the House Agricultural Committee, something she found rather preposterous. But Chisholm used the role to help develop the program today known as WIC — which currently provides nutritious food and beverages to a full 53 percent of children born in the U.S. during critical years for brain and body development. Chisholm also worked with Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.) to expand the food stamps program, served in the House Democratic Leadership, on the influential Veterans Affairs and Education and Labor Committees, and pushed through a bill giving domestic workers the right to demand the minimum wage. To gain the support of Southern governors and do the latter, Chisholm partnered with Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Yes, that George Wallace. When she announced her White House run at a Brooklyn church, Chisholm said she was hoping to ignite a "bloodless revolution."
Patricia S. Schroeder (1988)
Schroeder, a Democrat, lawyer and Harvard Law School gradate, spent time as an anti-war protester, worked as a public school teacher, was part of the Planned Parenthood staff and put in time at the National Labor Relations Board before becoming the first women to represent a Colorado district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Schroeder lambasted the FBI for monitoring her and her staff during her first congressional campaign. In Congress, she was the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and was a member of the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families. There she played a key role in passing the Family Medical Leave Act (the law under which some Americans can take time off from work to care for themselves or other family members). She served as chair of Sen. Gary Hart's (D-Colo.) presidential campaign before a sex scandal forced him out of the race. Schroeder then briefly and informally joined seven men running for the White House and often referred to the situation as "Snow White and the seven dwarfs" seeking office. But Schroeder had to drop out because she could not raise the funds needed to mount a serious campaign. When she did, Schroeder shed a few tears during the announcement, launching hundreds of reporters on stories about crying and women's fitness for office. This, of course, set the stage for a similar frenzy in the 2008 election when Clinton got a little misty-eyed.
Lenora Fulani (1988, 1992)
Fulani is another two-time, third-party candidate for the White House who also managed to qualify for federal matching funds — a counterpoint to the modern idea that only very wealthy Americans can mount a third-party or insurgent bid for the White House. There are quite a few women who have done it before, in fact. Fulani holds a degree from Columbia University's Teacher's College (sound familiar?), a PhD in development psychology and once worked as an education researcher studying the relationship between learning and environments. Fulani is also a psychologist and psychotherapist by training and spent a great deal of her career building youth programs. In 1988, when Fulani ran for the White House the first time on the New Alliance Party ticket, she too accomplished several firsts. She became the first woman and first African American to meet the criteria to appear on primary ballots in all 50 states. And until Jill Stein (Green Party) topped Fulani's performance in 2012, she earned more popular votes in the general election than any other woman who has run for the White House. Like several other women on this list, Fulani's campaign centered on the following issues: racial equality, gay rights and political reform to expand opportunities for third parties and nontraditional candidates. One final note: In 2000, Fulani surprised a lot of people when she endorsed Pat Buchanan's Reform Party bid for the White House and briefly served as co-chair of Buchanan's campaign. Fulani later withdrew her endorsement due to Buchanan's "right-wing agenda."
Elizabeth Dole (2000)
Dole, a former labor and transportation secretary, is, like Clinton a former Cabinet member who sought to lead. Actually, Dole has a long record of leadership and public service that began when she was a student at Duke University. Dole was president of the Woman's Student Government Association and named "Leader of the Year" by the school's student newspaper. Like several other women on the list who have attempted to hold the White House, Dole is a lawyer and a graduate of Harvard Law School who also holds a masters from Harvard and once worked as a teacher. She served as a White House aide during the administrations of both Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson (D) and Ronald Reagan (R) and was a Nixon appointee to the Federal Trade Commission. So, like Clinton, she was a kind of insider when she resigned from her post as president of the American Red Cross in 1999 to run for the White House. Her campaign lasted about nine months, during which time her husband, the aforementioned former senator Robert Dole — the Republican Party's 1996 presidential nominee — took the unusual step of praising some of his wife's Republican competition. The Doles, like the Clintons, were a couple where both halves have run for the White House and where both husband and wife came to the race with a lot of political experience. Still, more than a few reporters wrote stories only about Dole's hair, her suits and jewelry and her "uptight" demeanor. In 2002, after her failed presidential bid, Dole sought and won a Senate seat representing North Carolina. She became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate from that state and remained until 2009.
Michele Bachmann (2012)
Bachmann became a candidate for the Republican nomination for president after a working as a tax lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service and a charter school administrator (see the pattern?), serving as a Minnesota state lawmaker and congresswoman. She founded the House's Tea Party Caucus and was the first Republican woman elected to Congress from her home state. As a presidential candidate, Bachmann also aligned herself with a number of tea party positions. Bachmann became the first woman to win the Iowa Straw Poll, usually regarded as an important and telling sign, and even rose to second place in the national polls at one point. She quickly lost her momentum ultimately withdrew from the race after performing poorly in the Iowa caucuses. In her life before public office, Bachman was also an anti-abortion activist and served as a foster mother to nearly two dozen girls. Bachmann left the House in 2015. During her tenure, reporters raised questions about government payments made to a clinic where her husband and others provide mental health care. And she and her husband were the subject of some criticism because the clinic offers so-called conversion therapy to patents who request it. Conversion therapy, which aims to transform and eliminate the same-sex attractions of patients, is a practice the American Psychological Association has deemed inadvisable and potentially harmful. During Bachmann's presidential run, comments, questions and insinuations about her appearance and sanity occupied a lot of media time. Newsweek published a cover that labeled Bachman the "Queen of Rage," and there were entire stories about Bachman's "frumpy shoes," and "crazy eyes."
Jill Stein (2012)
Stein was the Green Party nominee in 2012. Like a few other women on this list, she qualified for federal matching funds in the primary race and received more votes than any other woman in the general election to date. She won 456,169 votes to be exact. Another Harvard woman, Stein got both her undergraduate and medical training at the school. She is a physician who practiced for 25 years before becoming political activist deeply concerned with the effects of the environment on human health and election reform in favor of third-party candidates. She ran for governor in Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010. And she's competing for the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination. So Clinton may yet have some female competition in the general election.