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Describe the Ways in Which the Methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were Different

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Assignment 1 Tom Harrison Question 2 Mrs. Theakston Describe the Ways in Which the Methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were Different There were many differences between the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes and some similarities, both arising from the nature of the membership and the leadership of the two unions. The main common ground between the two groups was their aim; both campaigned for votes for women. They differed on the means of achieving this goal. They even supported the same political parties; initially the Liberals but after 1911 they started supporting Labour; each followed the party most committed to their cause. A further similarity was the frustration felt after postponements of Suffrage bills, encouraging both Unions to make their actions more attention seeking: the Suffragettes started chaining themselves to railings - like Edith New who chained herself to railings near Downing Street in 1908 - following their motto, "Deeds not words," and the Suffragists began ignoring the census and evading tax. ...read more.


Public opinion differed over the tactics of the Suffragists and Suffragettes. Some said that the militancy of the Suffragettes was too masculine; they believed that there was no such thing as bad publicity and many people believed that their methods would delay women getting the vote because they made women seem irresponsible. The Suffragists were dissimilar to the Suffragettes in their belief that responsible behaviour would earn the vote. They were criticised for being ineffective as they did not receive enough publicity because their actions were not as headline grabbing as those of the Suffragettes. A further difference between the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes was that the Suffragists were willing to befriend influential men to help their cause whereas Suffragettes were sometimes described as, "Anti-men." Suffragists believed in all non-violent methods of campaigning including befriending politicians to get their voice heard in Parliament to help the cause. ...read more.


The leadership personalities differentiated the two groups. Emmeline Pankhurst who headed the Suffragettes was a tough, uncompromising character who believed that women should not be afraid to take strong action to get their point of view across. Possibly, it was this style of leadership that led to dissention and splinter groups amongst members of the Suffragettes. Millicent Fawcett, however, held the belief that any violence or trouble would lead men to believe that women should not be trusted with the right to vote. Overall, I believe that the two groups had differences of style and tactics but shared a similar desire to be heard in their campaign for female Suffrage. Or as Paula Bartley puts it: "The Suffrage movement was one story with several subplots rather than totally different sagas...they shared a common goal - votes for women - and only differed on the ways to achieve it." ...read more.

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