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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flying with the women who ran for president

In light of another historical event, John McCain choosing Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, I decided to write about the women who ran for president. I did not realize that there were several women who ran for president. We, as a country are not as progressive as we pretend to be. Being a women is very restricting force in all aspects of American life. Compared with other democracies, the United States in fact has been slow to use the abilities of the majority of its citizens – the majority born female. Twenty-six countries granted women the vote before the U.S. did, and the same is true of electing women as national leaders. The U.S. falls behind many others in setting this precedent, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Liberia, Philippines, and even Pakistan.

Here are the women who flew for the presidency:

  • Victoria Claflin Woodhull was the first woman to declare herself as a candidate for president. She announced her run on April 2, 1870, by sending a notice to the New York Herald.
  • Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood ran for president in 1884 in the National Equal Rights Party. First she went to law school. Upon graduation, she was told that she would not receive her degree. She appealed to President Ulysses S. Grant and he intervened on her behalf.
  • Margaret Chase Smith, announced her candidacy for the presidency in 1964. served 32 years in Congress and was the first woman elected to both the House and Senate. Although a champion for women’s issues, she was always clear about being seen as a U.S. Senator and not a woman Senator. In 1964, she became the first credible female candidate for president. Unlike her predecessors, she had legislative experience.
  • Patsy Takemoto Mink was a presidential candidate on the ballot in Oregon’s May primary in 1972. She received 2% of the vote, coming in eighth out of nine candidates. Nevertheless, Mink achieved her objective of getting Americans to find a female president thinkable.
  • Shirley Chisholm ran for presidency in 1972. She did not get the nomination, but did receive 151 votes at the Democratic Convention.
  • Ellen McCormack wanted to be president because she was passionately against abortion. She was the 1st woman to qualify for federal campaign funding. This money allowed her to do television commercials. and become nationally known. She was the 1st woman candidate to have Secret Service protection. She ran for the office in 1976 and 1980 in a minor party.
  • Sonia Johnson ran in 1984. She was nominated by two minor parties. She was the 1st third party candidate to qualify for primary matching funds.
  • Patricia Scott Schroeder ran in 1988. The Democratic nomination went to Michael Dukakis. When she was asked about running as a woman, she replied "What choice do I have?"
  • Lenora Branch Fulani ran in 1988. She was the 1st woman and African American to appear on the ballot in all 50 states.
  • Elizabeth Hanford Dole ran in 2000. She is quoted as saying “Women share with men the need for personal success, even the taste of power, and no longer are we willing to satisfy those needs through the achievements of surrogates, whether husbands, children, or merely role models.”
  • Carol Moseley-Braun ran in 2004. She dropped out four days before the Iowa caucus.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton is the 1st First Lady elected to the Senate and the 1st woman senator from New York. She is also the 1st woman nominated by a major party for president.

While women have not been idle in the quest for the White House, we have a long way to go. This year we were closer than we have ever been. This is not the time to stop. We must keep flying towards the goal.

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