In an 1871 lecture, Woodhull frankly declared, "Yes I am a Free Lover
. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please." (25) Woodhull apparently practiced what she preached.
It beganwith a programmecalled Free Lover
, which sawDawn taking part in a naked oil party in aGerman commune.
The bizarre scenes will be seen in Dawn Porter: Free Lover
, a documentary series for Channel Four.
She proclaimed to a New York audience of more than three thousand in November 1871, "Yes, I am a free lover
. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere" ("And the Truth Shall Make You Free" 23).
Referring to the first copy of Lucifer that came her way, one wife argued that "it was as bread to the hungry or water to the thirsty; like Oliver Twist I cried for 'more.'" This newspaper, she insisted, gave "expression to thoughts that had haunted me for years, but which I had previously been unable to define." (59) Contact with Free Lover
literature crystallized vague sentiments and disappointments and transformed them into a specific ideology and plan of action.
In her own day, the brilliant Victoria Woodhull - the only reformer with a comprehensive understanding of America, from region to region, from class to class - was discredited as a free lover
. Today, we are, in principle, saner about sex.
SHE WAS A professional conjurer of departed spirits, medicine woman, first woman stockbroker, first woman to address a congressional committee, first woman to run for president (while in prison on obscenity charges), a discreet blackmailer, the most radical of 19th century feminists, free lover
, a stunning platform orator, three times married (first to a down-on-his-luck alcoholic, Canning Woodhull; second to a sophisticated manipulator who educated her and finally to a dashing, love-of-her-life, rich British banker).
HERE she comes again, getting her face on TV by getting her kit off (Dawn Porter: Free Lover
, Channel 4, Tuesday).
Now ready for a relationship, she looks at the different ways it can be done in her new series, Dawn Porter: Free Lover
Several years later she roared back with an admiring jailhouse profile of the era's most notorious anarchist and free lover
, Emma Goldman.
Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers
, and Radicals in Britain and America
So I now question what free lovers
mean by love, because when you really are in love with someone, sharing them is impossible.