He had served in the Union Army in Missouri during the American Civil War, and had been elected as city auditor of St. Woodhull's support of free love likely started after she discovered the infidelity of her first husband Canning.
Women who married in the United States during the 19th century were bound into the unions, even if loveless, with few options to escape.
The rich intermingled with poor on Broadway in Manhattan; prostitutes rubbing shoulders with the 'haves,' who included the richest American citizen, Commodore Vanderbilt, railroad proprietor and millionaire.
Victoria took laudanum while visiting the brothels on 5th Avenue.
While many historians and authors agree that Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States, some have questioned that priority given issues with the legality of her run.
They disagree with classifying it as a true candidacy because she was younger than the constitutionally mandated age of 35. An activist for women's rights and labor reforms, Woodhull was also an advocate of being able to freely love whom you choose, with the nobility of free love, by which she meant the freedom to marry, divorce, and bear children without government interference.
Woodhull married Colonel James Harvey Blood, who also was marrying for a second time.She was forced to leave school and home with her family when her father, after having "insured it heavily," When she was 14, Victoria met 28-year-old Canning Woodhull (listed as "Channing" in some records), a doctor from a town outside Rochester, New York.Her family had consulted him to treat the girl for a chronic illness.Victoria Woodhull concluded that women should have the choice to leave unbearable marriages.Woodhull believed in monogamous relationships, although she also said she had the right to change her mind: the choice to have sex or not was in every case the woman's choice (since this would place her in an equal status to the man, who had the capacity to rape and physically overcome a woman, whereas a woman did not have that capacity with respect to a man).She spoke out in person against prostitution, and considered marriage for material gain a form of it.But in her journal, Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, Woodhull expressed support for the legalization of sex work.Her arrest on obscenity charges a few days before the election, for publishing an account of the alleged adulterous affair between the prominent minister Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton, added to the sensational coverage of her candidacy.She based her incest claim on a quote from Theodore Tilton's biography, "But the parents, as if not unwilling to be rid of a daughter whose sorrow was ripening her into a woman before her time, were delighted at the unexpected offer." Biographer Myra Mac Pherson disputes Goldsmith's claim that "Vickie often intimated that he sexually abused her" as well as the accuracy of Goldsmith's quote, "Years later, Vickie would say that Buck made her 'a woman before my time.'" Woodhull believed in spiritualism – she referred to "Banquo's Ghost" from Shakespeare's Macbeth – because it gave her belief in a better life.A free thinker, Victoria Woodhull created Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, a radical publication, in 1870 with her sister, Tennessee.The publication gave the sisters a place to express their ideas on social reforms, including women's suffrage, birth control and free love.