Eleanor Roosevelt. Harriet Tubman. Amelia Earhart. Even British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All of these women have been suggested either in polls or by Republican politicians as possible faces of the new ten dollar bill. They are all wrong. The face of the new ten dollar bill should be the woman who has been erased from our history; Victoria Woodhull.
This may seem a preposterous suggestion considering that Victoria is not in our history books. You will not find any statues of Victoria in any state, no plaques, and no place she has ever lived is on the national register of historic places.
But from 1869-1872 she accomplished more for women than any other woman in American history. She was the first women to own a stock brokerage firm on Wall Street, at a time when women were not allowed on the trading floors. Victoria was one of the first two women to own a newspaper (her rival, Susan B. Anthony was the other). Fighting for women’s rights, Victoria was the first woman to testify before Congress. A member of the Equal Rights Party, Victoria was the first woman to run for President at a time before women could vote.
To others, however, she will be remembered as the first American to publish Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, or the woman who exposed the hypocrisy of powerful religious leader Henry Ward Beecher or the woman who advocated “free love”. And for these sins, she was denied a place in our history. Putting her face on the $10 bill would restore her to where she belongs, into the pantheon of women leaders.