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Votes For Women

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Introduction

Votes for women Coursework Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? The late 19th century saw dramatic changes in Britain's society and industry. More and more women were campaigning for women's suffrage in the years after 1870 and the Industrial Revolution completely evolved the way Britain produced goods. Although there were a lot of changes which helped women's status, some things remained static, such as the Franchise Laws, denying women the right to vote. A campaign for women's suffrage developed in 1870 because women were frustrated that they were being made second class citizens. They started to be more aware thus realised how unfairly their sex was being treated and wanted to change this. New inventions such as the telephone and the steam locomotive emerged, makings Britain's economy one of the fastest growing at the time. While Britain's economy and industry moved forward, women were still second class citizens. The Victorian attitude to women was that a woman should stay at home and look after her husband. The culture of the time meant that very few women were skilled in any obvious professions and, therefore, there were few jobs that paid well for women during the nineteenth century. Many women felt deprived and angry, so they set up suffrage societies all over the country in order to gain more equality. In 1868, local groups amalgamated to form a series of close-knit groups with the founding of the National Society for Women's Suffrage (NSWS). This is notable as the first attempt to create a unified front to propose women's suffrage, but had little effect due to several splits, once again weakening the campaign. The first real drive for a campaign for women's suffrage came in 1865, with the election of John Stuart Mill, who was pro-female suffrage. Mill became a strong advocate of women's rights and in 1869, he argued for the right of women to vote. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Pankhurst was a member of the Suffragists, but she became impatient with the fact that the Suffragists' moderate methods had failed to achieve reform. The Suffragettes wanted "immediate enfranchisement" and did not care how they got it. They believed that the political methods used by the NUWSS were not helping their cause quick enough and more extreme action needed to be taken. Their methods included pouring acid into post boxes, smashing windows and chaining themselves to fences. The Suffragettes were a splinter from the Suffragists. They wanted women to have the vote on the same basis as men. They also wanted reforms to improve social conditions and believed that if women had the vote they would be able to put pressure on the governments to carry these out. The suffragette's methods however were more militant than the Suffragists. The Suffragettes believed in "Deeds not words" and when it became clear that the new liberal government was not going to introduce reform, they turned to militant methods. They also restricted membership of the WSPU to women: men were not allowed to join. They soon showed that they would be using different methods from the NUWSS. In 1905 Christabel Pankhurst was sent to prison for hitting and spitting at a policeman at a liberal meeting. However, for a time their methods were similar to the suffragists. One of the most effective was to use megaphones to heckle liberal candidates at by-election. In 1908 Asquinth took over as prime minister. He challenged the NUWSS and the WSPU to prove that there was a widespread demand for votes for women. In response both organisations held large marches in London. Trains brought hundreds of thousands of women to London for the demonstrations. However at the WSPU march, stones were thrown at the windows of the Prime Minister's house in Downing Street. The women responsible were sent to prison- but to their fellow Suffragettes, they were heroines. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was replaced by Lloyd George who was in favour of women getting the vote. Concerning this issue the absence of men allowed the Suffragists to become government representatives. During this time the Liberal party had been in power. However in 1915 the Liberals and the conservatives formed a coalition government. The liberals did not want to give women the vote as they knew they would all vote for the conservatives, so by forming a coalition government the fear of this was removed altogether. Factors not relating to the war were also important in women gaining the vote. Women in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand were getting the vote. Britain always promoted themselves as the mother of democracy, so by other countries giving the vote to women, the government felt embarrassed that countries in their eyes that were "smaller" than them were allowing for women's suffrage. The government because of this would have been pressured more into giving women the vote. By the end of the war women, through their work in the war had changed many people's ideas about their role in society. They had showed that they were not weak, fragile and stupid which dismissed a lot of the arguments for saying why women should not have the vote. They played a crucial part in winning the war. Even people like Asquinth said that, "without the women, Britain would have probably lost the war." Ultimately there were many factors which helped women get the vote, but probably the main reason why women got the vote was the work in the war effort as it proved many people's opinions wrong. So by giving the vote to women over 30 in 1918 as a reward for the female contribution to the war effort. Women may have also got the vote, because the government may have realised how desperate women were to gain the vote, so this coinciding with the war effort, also contributed to women getting the vote. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michael Adesite Votes for Women Coursework 1 ...read more.

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