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History Coursework Question 3

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Introduction

History Coursework Question 3 Women had not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War for a number of reasons. Source D says that women did not get the vote because - despite 'a very large section of the public ...in favour of women's suffrage' - and the constant requests for it, the government didn't grant it to them. So, I can infer that Emmeline Pankhurst was effectively blaming the chauvinistic, Liberal government for denying them the right to vote. Source E says that women were denied suffrage because; 'In giving women the right to vote we will ultimately put the control of the government...into female hands', I assume that this opinion was adopted by the most powerful M.P.s, despite the majority of people, - MPs and non-MPs - by 1908, in favour of the vote. So, by the actions of the author of Source E; voting against women's suffrage, I infer that the reason women had not gained the right to vote was that prejudiced M.P.s, like the politician who gave the speech, hold the opinion stated and vote against franchise for women. ...read more.

Middle

The answer, in my opinion, is both the former and the latter: Without the Suffragette's activities and their fame, which was due to their activities, the Suffrage movement wouldn't have gained a fraction of media coverage that they did. So, really despite the NUWSS' partially famous activities, it was the Suffragettes' notoriety that brought the Suffrage movement to public attention. However, their campaign did bring them under the scrutiny of important MPs, powerful people, aristocrats etc, who publicly and openly criticised the WSPU and their political strategies. The most powerful M.P.s; Asquith, Lloyd George, Churchill etc. used nearly every chance they got to disrupt the WSPU's plans and strategies. This made it near impossible for the Suffragettes to make any progress, which forced the Suffragettes to use more direct, and in some cases violent, action in order to get the necessary media coverage which was required to keep people's attention on the cause. ...read more.

Conclusion

One other main factor of the Suffragettes' failure, pre and during 1914, is the lack of priority the cause was given. By 1909 the Liberal government had many pre-occupations and other matters to deal with. Some of these pre-occupations were; The events leading up to the war and, obviously later on, the war itself; The state of poverty and ill-health in the country, which the government had vowed to abolish; The Liberals were losing their majority in the House of Commons, mostly due to their spending plans which provoked a tax rise, the Liberals needed to win the general election in 1910; There were several important strikes between 1908 and 1914; The Trade Unions' large and frequent strikes and demonstrations were a great concern to the government; Ireland was giving the government serious aggravation and provocation for Home Rule in Ireland. So, in conclusion, the failure of the WSPU pre and during the First World War was caused by; the reluctance of the MPs to vote for it and the lack of acknowledgement and concentration it was given. ...read more.

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