Item #8673 The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations. Victoria Woodhull.
The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations.
The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations.
The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations.
The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations.

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The Origin, Tendencies and Principles of Government: or a Review of the Rise and Fall of Nations.

New York: Woodhull, Claflin & Co., 1871. 8vo (9.125” x 6”), brown cloth with blind-stamped panel, gilt title at spine and upper cover. Frontis., [4], 247 pp. Inscribed by Woodhull on preliminary blank leaf: “A. M. Fulton : Presented By : Victoria C. Woodhull : New York April, 1871.” Additional ownership inscription, “A. M. Fulton,” at top of p. 4. Bookplate of collector Gary Woolson tipped on to front paste down. CONDITION: Very good, spine ever so slightly cocked; occasional slight foxing to contents, frontis. lacking tissue guard.

First edition of this important volume of Woodhull’s governmental writings, collected and published during her campaign as the first woman to run for President.

Born in the backwoods of Ohio the daughter of a one-eyed snake-oil salesman, Victoria Woodhull (née Claflin) grew up with her sister Tennie peddling their father’s quack remedies and earning money as child psychics. The two came to New York when Woodhull—supposedly guided by the spirit of the Greek orator Demosthenes—had a vision of a better life in that city, and together they charted groundbreaking, charismatic, and scandalous careers. The sisters began by opening the first woman-led Wall Street brokerage house, backed by Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, in early 1870, afterwards founding Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, which in addition to advocating for women’s suffrage, sexual education, and fair wages and working conditions, was the first publication in America to print The Communist Manifesto. In 1872 Woodhull became the first woman to make a bid for the presidency (nominating an uninterested Frederick Douglass as her running mate). She also rose quickly in the suffrage movement, taking part in the National Women’s Suffrage Conventions in the early 1870s, but her association with prominent first-wave feminists like Anthony and Stanton dissolved when she and her sister were arrested on charges of obscenity. (The Weekly exposed the affair between Theodor Tilton’s wife and the popular preacher, abolitionist, and suffragist Henry Ward Beecher.) Nevertheless, Woodhull’s broad vision and pioneering political action in the early 1870s—as captured in this volume—provided a vigorous impetus to women’s rights in the United States.

Woodhull announced her intention of running for office in 1870, and this volume, published a year before her official nomination by the Equal Rights Party, gathers her political and economic writings, many of which were revised from their initial publication in the New York Herald. Acknowledging that readers will not all share the same interests, Woodhull nevertheless writes that “we trust that everybody who takes up this book will carefully read ‘The Limits and Sphere and the Principles of Government,’ and ‘Papers on Labor and Capital and Commerce,’ for these immediately concern us all.” Likewise, she expresses her intention of meeting “the rapidly-growing demand for information upon the Woman Question, and [inspiring] further inquiry into the subject of the equality of human rights.”

Item #8673

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