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Belva Ann Lockwood

Changing Worlds, Moving Mountains, A Long Way To Go, A Full Life, Amendment Xix

Born October 24, 1830 (Royalton, New York)

Died May 19, 1917 (Washington, D.C.)


Belva Ann Bennett McNall Lockwood gained notoriety as the first woman to run for president in the United States. She was nominated in both the 1884 and the 1888 presidential races by the National Equal Rights Party. Lockwood is best remembered, however, as the first woman admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States. She was also the first woman to practice law in the lower federal court system.

As a lawyer in Washington, D.C., Lockwood exerted a great deal of political influence in both Congress and the courts. While she was most visible in her campaign to earn women's rights, especially the right to vote, Lockwood also lobbied Congress on a wide range of issues addressing injustice against a variety of groups. Lockwood was an avid pacifist (person opposed to the use of force) who served as a member of the nominating committee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"Why not nominate women for important places? . . . We shall never have rights until we take them, nor respect until we command it."

For More Information


Brown, Drollene P. Belva Lockwood Wins Her Case. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman & Company, 1987.

Hall, Kermit L. The Oxford Companion to American Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

James, Edward T., Janet Wilson James, and Paul S. Boyer, eds. Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1971.

Maddex, Robert L. The U.S. Constitution A to Z. Washington, DC: CQPress, 2002.

Magnusson, Magnus, and Rosemary Goring, eds. Cambridge Biographical Dictionary. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Web Sites

"Belva Ann Lockwood: For Peace, Justice, and President." Stanford Law School. http://www.stanford.edu/group/WLHP/papers/lockwood.htm (accessed on August 15, 2004).

"Belva Lockwood." The Learning Curve. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAWlockwoodBelva.htm (accessed on August 15, 2004).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law