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April 13, 2016

Meet some of the women candidates who preceded Hillary Clinton for president

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Note: Today’s Daily News Story covers up to 3m:35s of the video seen here. For senior high school students, we recommend watching the sit-down interview with author Ellen Fitzpatrick.

Essential question

Why is it significant that the U.S. has not yet elected a female president?


While Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, previous female candidates have also sought the nation’s highest office.

In her new book, “The Highest Glass Ceiling,” author Ellen Fitzpatrick takes a close look at some of the 200 women who ran for president and the odds they battled.

The 32-year-old Victoria Woodhull launched her bid in 1870, almost half-a-century before women were allowed to vote. Woodhull faced fierce opposition in the press who depicted her as a devil for supporting the free love movement, by which she meant the freedom to marry, divorce and bear children.

Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith, who became the first woman to be elected to the Senate in her own right, ran for president about 100 years later. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968, became the first black woman to run as a major-party presidential candidate in 1972.

On Tuesday, President Obama designated the first national monument to women’s history at the home of the National Woman’s Party in Washington D.C. The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument honors suffrage fighters Alva Belmont and Alice Paul.


Key terms

suffrage — the right to vote in political elections

National Woman’s Party — an American women’s organization formed in 1916 to fight for women’s suffrage

Warm up questions (before watching the video)

1. Who are some examples of female politicians?
2. Has a woman ever won a party nomination to run for president?
3. When did women earn the right to vote?

Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why did President Obama designate the headquarters of the National Woman’s Party as a national monument?
  2. Why do you think Victoria Woodhull decided to run for president before she herself even had the right to vote?
  3. Why do you think no woman has yet been able to achieve a presidential nomination or the presidency itself?
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