Belva Ann Lockwood, 1884 and 1888

View item information

Belva Ann Lockwood’s presidential candidacy received national coverage in publications such as Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. This portrait clipping comes from an article about Lockwood published in New York’s Daily Graphic. While Lockwood was subject to mockery like any presidential candidate, her campaign also received balanced coverage and genuine interest and curiosity from readers. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

Belva Ann Lockwood followed Victoria Woodhull as the presidential nominee of the Equal Rights Party in the 1884 and 1888 elections. Like Woodhull, Lockwood was a suffragist and accomplished professional; she was an educator, a lawyer with her own practice in Washington, DC, and the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.  As the 1884 election approached, Lockwood expressed frustration with the National Woman Suffrage Association leadership’s support for the Republican Party, writing that she did not "see any advantage of standing by the party that does not stand by us."

Inspired by Lockwood’s political independence and commitment to action, the reform-minded Equal Rights Party selected Lockwood as their nominee and she accepted. Lockwood campaigned at rallies around the country on a platform that addressed a broad range of policy issues and included political equality on the basis of race and sex as a central tenet. Lockwood argued that although she could not vote, as an American-born citizen over the age of thirty-five, there was nothing in the Constitution that suggested she could not be voted for or could not hold office. Lockwood’s running mate was California suffragist Marietta Stow.

Lockwood received over 4,700 votes in eight states, though she contended that her votes were not counted fairly in some places. Lockwood ran again with less success in 1888 and, after that, continued to advocate for the causes of women's suffrage and international peace. After a career spanning four decades, she died in 1917 at age eighty-six, still without the right to vote.