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Abstract

Anthony Comstock and Victoria C. Woodhull were both important ideological figures in the tumultuous time of the Gilded Age. Infamous for her campaign for the presidency of the United States in 1872, Woodhull is often lauded as one of the earliest and most radical feminists. Comstock, on the other hand, would build his legacy out of his devotion to strict Victorian ideals, enacting countless censorship laws to impede the flow of obscene materials. While Comstock and Woodhull could not seem more polar in their political and social beliefs, this paper explores an important ideological similarity that they shared. This similarity is analyzed through a Foucaultian framework and probed through the lens of the Gilded Age. This paper seeks to explore this ideological relationship as it relates to Gilded Age and contemporary perpetuations of white, upper class, able-bodied privilege while illuminating the impact these two mammoth figures had on social historic discourse.

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