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Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different.

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Introduction

Charlotte Edwards Year 5 Coursework Assignment 2 Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different. By 1900 the woman's suffrage movement had been in existence for more than thirty years and was a huge national issue. It consisted of two main groups: the NUWSS (National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies) and the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union). Although their methods differed greatly, both groups saw the vote as a symbol of citizenship in a democratic country and argued for women to be represented. They wanted the vote to end what they saw as the economic, social and moral exploitation of women. In 1897, the NUWSS was formed - led originally by Lydia Becker. The NUWSS, known as the suffragists, held public meetings, organised petitions, wrote letters to politicians, published newspapers and distributed free literature. After her death, the leadership passed to Millicent Fawcett, sister of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (the first woman in Britain to qualify as a Doctor) ...read more.

Middle

The unproductive results of the NUWSS efforts of persuasion resulted in the creation of the WSPU in 1903. A breakaway group of frustrated NUWSS members in Manchester, no longer willing to restrict themselves to the constitutional methods favoured by the NUWSS, decided to take more direct action. They resolved to limit membership exclusively to women, to keep themselves free from party affiliation, and "Deeds, not Words" was their motto. These women were significantly more forceful and in January 1906 the Daily Mail created the word 'suffragette' in reference to WSPU members. Whereas the suffragists had restricted themselves to peaceful demonstrations and petitions the suffragettes began to smash windows and when caught they refused to be fined and chose to be imprisoned. Many of those who were sent to prison went on hunger strike. In 1909 Marion Wallace became the first suffragette to go on hunger strike. These protests grabbed the attention of the press and the public and women's suffrage had become a national issue. ...read more.

Conclusion

By 1913 many suffragettes were in prison and the Pankhursts' were co-ordinating their campaign from France. Although they had raised their profile they had also damaged their cause. Each time the issue was raised in Parliament there was a bigger majority against votes for women. By the outbreak of the First World War it seemed as thought the women's suffrage movement was divided into two separate groups: the suffragists and the suffragettes. They both shared the common goal of votes for women and the only difference between them being the ways in which they tried to achieve their goal. In time the NUWSS became angry and frustrated with the WSPU and believed that they were doing more harm than good to the cause and that their actions were turning people against them. The WSPU believed that they only way to gain votes was through force but the NUWSS disagreed. The outbreak of the First World War brought an abrupt end to their campaigning and women were finally given the vote in 1928. 1 ...read more.

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