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Study Sources D and E and use your own knowledge.

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Introduction

Study Sources D and E and use your own knowledge. Why, despite the Suffragette activity, had women not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War? By the outbreak of the First World War, women had not gained the vote due to many reasons. To understand these reasons, we must study sources D and E. Source D is part of a book called 'My Own Story' written by Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union). Emmeline Pankhurst was born in 1858 and lived up until 1928 in a life in which she certainly left her mark. She worked her entire life for a cause of women's suffrage, and was certainly not afraid to back up her words with action. From 1906 onwards, Pankhurst led the WSPU against the Liberal Party, who she felt were the main obstacles standing in the way of women's suffrage. From 1908 to 1909, she was arrested three times, once after calling on people to 'rush the House of Commons' for the suffrage cause. WSPU members were frequently arrested over the next few years, sometimes in response to a spate of arson attacks orchestrated by Christabel Pankhurst. ...read more.

Middle

The right for women to vote conceded another setback. Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst condemned it as betraying women and led to a new outbreak of violence. The most important reason why women had not been given the vote by the outbreak of the First World War was that the Liberals never regarded it as being politically important. When Liberals started to lose seats in by-elections from 1907 to 1909 and then had to fight two close elections over the battle with the House of Lords in 1910, their attention was imminently drawn to other issues. They had more important things to deal with and had to turn their attentions elsewhere. From 1908 onwards there was a series of major strikes which continued until war broke out. In Ireland plan to grant self-government led to unrest in Northern Ireland and the creation of two armed forces, the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish Volunteers. In 1914, major violence was too only prevented by the outbreak of the war. These, among many others, were problems needing to be dealt with and why the government never focused enough on the Women's right to vote. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another reason why the vote was not permitted before the war was because their violent tactics were regarded as attention and publicity seeking. Pankhurst explained that they were driven to these tactics because peaceful methods had failed. The suffragettes lost support due to their irrational behaviour. Some of these violent tactics were throwing stones at 10 Downing Street, the smashing of major department stores, Hunger Strike and the slashing of the Rokeby Venus painting. Such brutality alienated many people. Most notably, women themselves were not all pro the vote. There was the Anti-suffrage league, and also many understood that working class women would not benefit. Suffragettes appeared to only represent the interests of the middle class woman. Militancy of the movement alienated some women due to the suffragette's vicious tactics. Religion was also a key issue and women tended to be more religious than men therefore the church being more influential in their action. Also, extreme acts such as burning down churches horrified not only the religious women, but the general public. In conclusion, women had not gained the vote by the outbreak of the first world war due to it not being central issue for the government as they were focused on other issues, violence tactics becoming over-the-top, and due to it not making sense as it would lead to more Conservative voters. ...read more.

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