Sex Scandal Embroils Suffrage Movement in a Public Relations Disaster
After nationally prominent Congregational minister Henry Ward Beecher repeatedly and hypocritically accused her of being a depraved sex radical, presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull (1838–1927) retaliated by exposing in her newspaper his affair with Sunday school teacher Elizabeth Tilton, wife of his protégé Theodore Tilton. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was cited as one of Woodhull’s sources. After initial denials, the Tiltons, but not Beecher, acknowledged the adultery. Woodhull was incarcerated for weeks for mailing the “obscene” newspaper.