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Explain why women failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914

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Introduction

Explain why women failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914. The women's campaign for the right to vote (female suffrage), through the N.U.W.S.S, and later in 1903 the more militant movement, W.S.P.U, set up by Emmeline Pankhurst, failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914, for a multitude of reasons. I will attempt to explain the causes of their failure; historically women gaining the right to vote is a major event, which goes against the tradition of modern history. The main thing to bear in mind is despite eventual promises from PM Asquith; women were often overshadowed by more important political events. For example International Relations building to a climax by 1914 and the problems in Ireland and home rule increased in importance. The female middle class movement was often repressed by their status in society, and their lack of a majority. As the popularity of their demands grew, other females joined in the fight and newer groups increased in number, and protests grew in violence. The pressure continued to increase on the Government and at times it seemed inevitable that they would eventually gain the right to vote. In 1910 the conciliation bill promised the vote to women householders, and wives of male householders. ...read more.

Middle

Though the Women's Social and Political Union was notorious, it was hardly nationally followed by a majority of women. In order to achieve their aims Pankhurst and the union would have to spread the word, increase the popularity and obtain a larger force to oppose Government. This is why they printed vast amounts of Propaganda and held many more Processions than before. The Suffragettes had to go to greater measures to try and achieve the right for women's vote, from 1905 the Suffragettes resorted to violence, their extreme acts would now be considered Terrorism. They vandalized, committed Arson, heckled and attacked Politicians, planted bombs, hunger strikes, purposefully got arrested, disrupted national events, destroyed international treasures. By 1912 members even died to aid their cause when Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the King's Horse at the Derby. They induced fear into society and Politicians feared for their families' lives after an assassination attempt on Lloyd George. The violence of the W.S.P.U led to a split, and the Women's Freedom League was Formed, led by Charlotte Despard, who continued to use methods to disrupt Government and society with militant, but non-violent actions, such as picketing the House of Commons and refusing to pay taxes. Meanwhile, the Suffragists, led by Millicent Fawcett, continued to use constitutional means of persuasion to reach their goal. ...read more.

Conclusion

Each of the movements, despite the pressure on Government, failed to pass between 1900 and 1914, because it was simply such a major change in society. Britain was the first major superpower to have such pressure to allow women's right to vote upon its Government. It was not expected to escalate into such a national movement, from its once middle class women's roots, whom were ignored and looked down upon by most. Asquith especially was a major part as to why women failed to achieve the vote between 1900-14 as he was stubbornly 'anti' women's vote. Coupled with being the most powerful politician the country had meant that the Movement was perhaps attacked more aggressively by Politicians and Liberal Newspapers. Many politicians in government feared the implications a Bill passed allowing women the right to vote would have. Also the Women's Suffrage was more often than not overshadowed during 1900-14 by other important political happenings, such as the Irish Home Rule and the German Kaisers threatening International Militant actions. It is inevitable that eventually women would have achieved the right to vote. Between 1900-14 they failed to achieve this because of various other Political interests, the opinion of the British Prime Minister, and the speed at which such a major change in society came about, with its aggressive actions. ...read more.

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