General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

When is the earliest time in history when a woman could have run for President in the United States?

Asked by Yellowdog (9980points) 1 month ago

Women in the U.S.A. were first recognized as having the right to vote in 1920.

Iceland has had female presidents at least since 1980 and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first female president ever elected in the world. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a conservative, served a similar role beginning as early as 1979.

Churches in the U.S.A. especially those associated with the Holiness movement, have had high ranking female leaders in traditionally male roles since the very early 1800s, in the Second Great Awakening. All in all, the idea of female leaders has been embraced even by conservatives for many years.

Hillary Clinton was the first female candidate for president.

Yet we still have never had a female president.

So, what is the EARLIEST a woman could have run for president in the United States?

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20 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

No woman could have run for President prior to 1776. There was not a United States at that point.

It would have been unthinkable up until the 1960s – the openness of those days at least opened the door. The Equal Rights Amendment (passed 1972) laid a legal and social framework for the possibility.

Why has it never happened? Because many men have fragile egos and cannot fathom being led by a woman.

Yellowdog's avatar

@elbanditoroso I have heard a lot of people SAY that about men not fathoming being led by a woman. But I have never heard any man actually SAY that.

Men have accepted female leaders in political, leadership, and business roles for decades. Why not here in American as POTUS I haven’t a clue.

I didn’t vote for Hillary because of her political position on things I care about, and corruption, but I would have been glad to vote for a woman like Margaret Thatcher.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Or maybe no woman worthy has run.
I have always been willing to vote for a woman, but never have seen one I felt deserved my vote.

Hillary? Pfft
If I’m going to vote for a woman, why would it be one who fucks things up even worse than men?

What’s funny about the current contenders is Pete. Hillary truly believed she would be the first to bring a First Husband to the White House. If Pete gets elected, it won’t even be a woman who first brings a First Husband to the White House. That would feed the final scraps of her dignity to the hounds of hell.

I have seen one woman who has both the skill and possible willingness to garner my vote.
No announcement has been made, but I think she has plans for 24.

Darth_Algar's avatar


And who would that be?

Patty_Melt's avatar

No way I’m telling the hyenas where the baby is hidden.

Darth_Algar's avatar

What are you afraid of? Worse that could happen is someone checks this person out and becomes interested in their platform.

Patty_Melt's avatar

< Hears Hillary’s insincere laughter echoing the halls. >

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well whoever this person is, they must not be that impressive if you’re unwilling to even mention their name.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I will name her, when she announces. If she does not throw her hat in, naming her is pointless.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Not necessarily. Making folks aware of this person could help build early support for her. Early support, in turn, could help her decide to run.

janbb's avatar

I’m not sure what your hypothetical is about but Victoria Woodhull ran dor President in 1872.

kritiper's avatar

1920. That’s when they got the right to vote.

LostInParadise's avatar

I did a Web search to find the first woman elected to Congress This happened in 1916, four years before women were given the right to vote. It seems odd that a woman could be elected to Federal office, but not allowed to vote. If a woman could be elected to Congress, I assume that a woman could have run for President, so apparently a woman could have run for President at the time the Constitution was established.

dabbler's avatar

“Hillary Clinton was the first female candidate for president.”
Nope, not even from the two major parties.
Shirley Chisholm was a Democratic candidate in 1972.
As others have mentioned several other women have sought the nomination, usually from the Democratic Party.

janbb's avatar

Why is everyone ignoring the fact I posted Victoria Woodhull ran for President in 1872?

LadyMarissa's avatar

Jessie Benton Fremont was encouraged to run in 1856. Instead she chose to have her husband run with her being his main supporter. She claimed that a vote for her husband was also a vote for her as she’d be guiding him through his time as President.

Then, Victoria Woodhull who was a suffragette ran for the Equal Rights Party in 1872. This was before we had the right to vote & any woman showing up to vote was immediately jailed for her crime. Victoria ran on a platform of “free love” where anyone could get married, divorced, & bear children without government interference.

IF you wish to know more, HuffPost has a list of those all the way back to where I began!!!

Yellowdog's avatar

Thanks, @janbb and @LadyMarissa

Yes, I noticed and appreciated the post by @janbb about Victoria Woodhull, but was not in a place at the time where I could post a thanks.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Women could, however, vote in her home state. Before the passage of the 19th Amendment voting rights for women were, effectively, on a state-by-state basis.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Women were limited in what they could vote for. Special booths were built with a man entrance and woman entrance. By entering the woman side, ballots would automatically show only the items women could vote for.

Yellowdog's avatar

Probably limited to the school lunch program, or what kind of flowers would be planted on the the courthouse lawn.

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