Questions and Answers
Q&A with Neal Katz author of OUTRAGEOUS: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Volume 1, Rise to Riches. To purchase, visit outrageousthebook.com.
1. How were you introduced to the life of Victoria Woodhull and what made you so passionate to share her story?
I came across Victoria in some readings about Victorian America. Then I read Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull by Barbara Goldsmith. I found so many parallels between Victoria’s life and my own that I devoured several excellent books about Victoria, her sister Tennessee Celeste Claflin, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. The histories were informative but none captured the imagination of the American public. I hope The Victoria Woodhull Saga in four volumes will make Victoria Woodhull not only well known, but iconic.
2. Victoria knew that a rise to power was through financial and political gain. Did you get a sense through your research that Victoria thought she had a chance to be elected as President of the United States as the first female in the 19th century or was there another motive for her candidacy?
The audacity of declaring herself a candidate for the Presidency, securing her party’s nomination, and running a campaign through the first women-owned (Vickie and Tennessee) newspaper is astonishing. It did not matter if she could win, in fact, she was not printed on any ballots in any states, and she was wrongfully arrested and placed in prison during the voting. Once she became rich, the next logical step was to become well known and influential—the candidacy provided the opportunity. No, she would never think she could win.
3. Your thoughts on our free markets come from historical and personal knowledge. How would you describe the current market in the United States or even that of the world?
I believe we are literally on the brink of catastrophic disaster. There is a debt crisis about to happen that will end any appearance of “the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.” We had an opportunity in 2008, after the bank and investment firm failures to change the mentality, but greed and short-term profits were more desirable than systemic change to establish a solid foundation. This time the U.S. will not be able to prop up the world markets, and we will finally witness a true domino effect—of financial collapses. The biggest danger in this is militarism, typically when things go really bad for a country it turns to war.
4. Would gender equality in America be enough to achieve sustainable economic improvement in the lives of women, especially single mothers, in our country?
If by gender equality you mean a collective mind shift that would end the subjugation, degradation, and objectification of women by men, then to some degree, yes. I have designed a program to prove to America and the world that single mothers are an investment grade asset completely under utilized in our economy.
5. If Victoria were alive today, what passions and injustices do you think she would stand behind?
Today Victoria would stand for what she stood for and wrote about in the 1870’s. This was her political platform: Women suffrage and equal legal standing, regulation of monopolies, nationalization of railroads, an eight hour workday, direct taxation, abolition of the death penalty, welfare and education for the poor, and equal pay for equal work. Amazingly in 1872!
6. Why do you think you, as a successful businessman, are a good person to be telling Victoria’s story in first person?
Many of the determining factors that befell on Victoria have occurred in my life. I recognized early on the psychological profile driving her reactions and imperatives in her life. Add to that the fact that men wrote her out of history, I believe a man should write her back into herstory!
What surprised you the most about your research and knowledge about Victoria when writing this book?
There are so many factors that surprised me. She was dazzlingly smart despite her formal education ending in the third grade (a distinction she shared with Cornelius Vanderbilt). She knew how to gather the right advisors around her. She was an incredible manipulator of the mass media of the day, the press. Most of all, overcoming the adversity of her childhood, Victoria Woodhull would not be constrained by civility, cultural dictates, propriety, nor any form of compliance. She was fearless and a champion for those less fortunate.
For more information and a review of the Suffragette movie, please visit: www.thevictoriawoodhullsaga.com
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