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Belva Lockwood (1830-1917)

Presidential Candidate

…not that we shall succeed in the election, but we can demonstrate that a woman may under the Constitution, not only be nominated but elected. - 1884

After becoming a young widow, Belva Lockwood made the difficult decision to leave her young daughter with family to pursue her education. Lockwood and her daughter then moved to Washington, D.C., where, after many rejections, she was admitted to National University Law School. Upon completion of her coursework, she was denied her degree (she finally received it after petitioning President Grant, an ex-officio of the university).

In an 1884 letter to Marietta Stow, editor of The Woman’s Herald of Indiana, Lockwood suggested that the law did not prevent women from being voted for, even if they could not legally vote. This observation gained her the nomination for president of the National Equal Rights Party. Lockwood accepted, with Stow as her running mate. They earned an impressive 4,149 votes, amid reports of votes being dumped, but lost to Grover Cleveland. She ran again in 1888.