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millicent garett fawcet

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Introduction

What was the significance of Millicent Garrett Fawcett to the suffrage movement? "Although many reformers did base their claim on liberal equal rights ideology, many insisted it was because women were different from men that they should have the right to vote." Millicent Garrett Fawcett argued against the Anti Suffragists by using there own arguments which were against women being enfranchised to justify her arguments for women being enfranchised. The Anti Suffragists believed very strongly in the separate spheres ideology, a women's role 'being in the spheres of Home, Society, Education, Philanthropy.' A man role was in being the head of his family, in business and politics. The Antis strongly believed that it was Gods wish that men should rule and women be governed. Biblical references to Adam and Eve were made: Eve was formed from the spare rib of Adam and so was his subject to rule. Millicent Garrett Fawcett argued strongly against this, her ideology was that men and women although they did have separate spheres, were in fact equal. "(Anti Suffragists)... go on repeating their catchword that 'Men are men and women are women,' meaning thereby that the point of view, the experience of life, the sphere of activity of women differ in many important respects from those of men, without seeing that these facts are among the strongest and most irrefutable of the reasons for urging that no representative system is complete or truly national which entirely leaves out the representation of women." ...read more.

Middle

Millicent Garrett Fawcett did not agree with the WSPU's actions due to a variety of different reasons the main one being that she disagreed with the WSPU's increasingly militant techniques. She believed that law and order were especially important to women and that this was being undermined by the WSPU's campaign. She clearly stated that she did not agree with their actions to Philippa Strachey on the 12 October in 1908. "I still feel disinclined to encourage one set of suffragists to denounce another set. Though I feel most strongly the essential immorality of issuing a call to the roughs of London to come and 'rush' the House of Commons... . I feel that the law and order are essential to all that makes life worth living and that they are especially and peculiarly vital to women." This shows how strongly she disagrees with some of their certain ideals for her to publicly say that she disagrees with their actions "essential immorality of issuing a call to the roughs of London to come and 'rush' the House of Commons". She was extremely against their militant actions "I do not think assaults perfectly abominable and above all extraordinary silly." It is clear that she believed these actions undermined the NUWSS's efforts to build support for suffrage legislation. She did not agree with the fact that "these idiots go out smashing windows and bashing ministers' hats over their eyes." ...read more.

Conclusion

Many saw women at the time as fickle, childish, and capricious and bad tempered, thus how were they likely to make rational judgement about political issues or events. Due to some of the WSUP members in Millicent own words "go out smashing windows and bashing ministers' hats over their eyes." This supported many Antis and other people's views of women when they do not get there way going out and throwing a 'strop' because they did not get what they wanted. The reason why the Suffragettes wanted the vote was so that Britain became a fairer society and women had more say in the workings and running of Britain. So upholding law and order was clearly an important ideal of the NUWSS and Millicent, if they did not uphold the law how could they expect to be given the vote? Millicent Garrett Fawcett even states on 12 October 1908 that she feels "that law and order are essential to all that makes life worth living and that they are especially vital to women. It is clear that law and order was an extremely important issue for Millicent and the NUWSS because it is apparent that they believed that without it they could be liable of being called hypocrites. The suffrage movement was evidently affected a great deal by the ideals and actions of Millicent Garrett Fawcett she believed that the suffrage movement would not be successful unless they took a non militant stance. Some of her ideals were instrumental in forming the main arguments against Antis for the enfranchisement of women. ...read more.

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