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Describe the ways in which the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were different.

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Describe the ways in which the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were different The Suffragists and Suffragettes were two female dominated groups, who were very alike in principle but used very different ways of persuasion. Both organisations were committed to achieving votes for women, they did not demand the vote for all women but wanted to be seen as equals in society to men. The Suffragists (NUWSS) were a peaceful, law-abiding group, however the Suffragettes (WSPU) used totally different forms of propaganda which were much more militant than the methods used by the Suffragists in order to gain more publicity and to be noticed more. The Suffragist movement started in 1850 and after 1870 much larger groups came into existence and there were hundreds of these by the 1890's. These groups were pulled together to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in 1897. Before this the groups were working separately but were drawn together to form a stronger, larger organisation under one leader, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent Fawcett made it clear that their campaign would be carried out "without violence, without killing people and blowing up buildings and doing the other silly things that men have done when they wanted the laws altered." However, in 1903 many women believed that after 50 years of peaceful protest they had achieved nothing, they believed that it was time ...read more.


They were frequently seen sailing down the river Thames shouting abuse at Parliament; they were known to repeatedly chain themselves to public buildings. Suffragettes were famously blamed for the destruction of all the windows on Oxford Street. The plans of the Suffragettes were very different to those of the Suffragists, as they would get publicity at any cost. They deliberately got arrested for crimes such as arson, window smashing and bombing. The Suffragettes made it clear that they would not stop the havoc they were causing unless their demands were met. They often went to prison rather than pay fines to accentuate the injustice of the system and when in prison they would go on hunger strikes meaning they had to be force fed causing more problems for government and prison wardens. After awhile the Government got used to this and issued the Cat and Mouse Act that said that if a woman went on hunger strike she was released after they had become incredibly weak. After a brief period of time in which they could recover they were arrested again for minor offences to start the whole cycle again. This Cat and Mouse Act showed how the Government saw these women as a nuisance to society. What needs to be understood is the fact that the Suffragettes were not always as militant as people remember them but in fact their civil disobedience escalated throughout the early 1900's as they realised that their early techniques were unsuccessful. ...read more.


Millicent Fawcett did not agree with the violent techniques used by the suffragettes, however, she did appreciate the fact that the Suffragettes did create a lot of publicity for the issue. She said in 1906 that the Suffragettes "have done more to advance the movement in twelve months than I and my followers have been able to do in the same number of years." The main difference between the Suffragists and the Suffragettes was the fact that the Suffragists used the weight of their argument and the weight of their support to try and achieve their aim, however, the Suffragettes used civil disobedience in order to get more publicity so that there point was noticed and so the government could not keep ignoring the issue of votes for women. The reason why the two campaigns were different was the fact that the Suffragettes were a breakaway movement from the Suffragists as they disagreed with the methods which they used so they decided to campaign in what they thought was the right way. Also the two organisations were run by two very different women. Millicent Fawcett, the leader of the Suffragists, was a respectable woman who did not believe in violence as she thought that it would ruin her campaign. Emmeline Pankhurst was very different, she believed in direct action so the Government could no longer ignore the case for women's suffrage. By David Alison ...read more.

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