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

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Introduction

Describe the ways in which the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were different The two main groups campaigning for women's suffrage were the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), founded in 1897 by Millicent Fawcett and the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst as a splinter group of the NUWSS. The NUWSS was by far the larger and their members were known as Suffragists, many of these women had links to the ruling Liberal party and were from the middle class so as they could work full time but for no pay, however many working class women joined the Union later. The NUWSS used the accepted methods of Victorian pressure groups, these included holding lectures, gathering petitions, publishing pamphlets and organising marches. The WSPU was a splinter group of the NUWSS; it was founded as their leader Emmeline Pankhurst believed the NUWSS was moving too slowly, they wanted to make quicker patience and had lost patience with the peaceful tactics used by the NUWSS, believing that the campaign was going nowhere. They argued that although women's suffrage had been discussed in Parliament fifteen times by 1900, the vote had always been lost. The WSPU believed that the campaign for women's suffrage needed to be more forceful and the press needed to take more notice if they were to achieve the vote. In the years up to 1903 there was only one main group campaigning for women's suffrage, the NUWSS. ...read more.

Middle

The government realised that should one of the suffragettes on hunger strike die, she would immediately become a martyr to her cause, giving them even more publicity it would be very damaging towards them. In response to avoid this situation the government embarked on a policy of force-feeding. Meanwhile the suffragists of the NUWSS stuck to their policy of non-violent protests. In 1908 a groups of NUWSS campaigners met with the Prime Minister to explain their grievances, and in 1909 Millicent Fawcett held a public debate with her opponents. A year after this in 1910 the NUWSS collected a petition of 280,000 signatures in support of their cause. Whilst this was going on Parliament had continued to vote on bills to give women the vote. Many new bills were introduced to parliament, these were discussed but all either failed or were dropped. The Liberal government attempted to introduce a bill to give the vote to all men and women. This bill however was dropped. Later on all of the major parties agree to a bill to give women the vote but this one was also later abandoned. It was again re-introduced but this time the Liberals dropped the bill and decided to give the right to vote only to men. In 1911 the two groups called a truce whilst Parliament gave the first reading to the Conciliation Bill which if passed would give women the right to vote. ...read more.

Conclusion

Likewise in 1912 the Pethwick-Lawrences left the WSPU and established their own organisation, The Votes for Women Fellowship. Finally in 1914, Sylvia Pankhurst formed the East London Federation, she had become disillusioned with the WSPU as it had become middle-class orientated and apparently abandoned working women. In conclusion we can see that both of the major groups had totally different methods to achieve the one goal that they desired the most, the right to vote. It can be generally said that the suffragists were peaceful in their ways where as the suffragettes were militant in every increasing violent and extremism. The government did try half-heartedly to introduce bills to give women the right to vote. They introduce seven conciliation bills (one per year). We can see from how the votes were cast how the activities of the NUWSS and the WSPU influenced the politicians' decisions. During 1903-1907 60% of MP's were pro-enfranchisement. Between 1908-1911 the majority pro-enfranchisement increased with each successive bill as the relatively peaceful activities of the NUWSS and WSPU brought the subject to the attention of the people and MPs. However in 1912-1914 due to the much-escalated militancy of the WSPU the bills were defeated by more a more MPs each time they were introduced. By 1914 though the suffragette may have done more harm than good to their cause, but it many have been due to a change in the MPs and whom the women supported. Colin Moore 10C Describe the ways in which the methods of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were different 01/05/07 ...read more.

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