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Votes for women - source related questions.

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Votes for women, c1900-28 Coursework assignment 1. What can you learn from source A about the reasons given by the suffragettes for demanding votes for women? Source A, is principally saying that many women are doing good, valuable services for the country and yet do not get a say in the running of it, through voting. On the other hand, men could have been convicts etc who have scrounged off society and have not done their bit for the country, yet they still, however, get to keep their votes. This argument seems fair and just, but in fact, it is severely flawed. The suffragettes have attempted to change the argument from men vs. women into bad vs. good for example mothers vs. proprietors of white slaves, (individuals who employed people but bellow the standard of living- in metaphorical chains); in doing so they have misrepresented both sides and have also been discriminative to people in poor situations. Women would seldom get to have any job at all, let alone mayors, nurses, doctors or teachers. They would sometimes get to be factory hands and would, of course get to be mothers but the poster is misrepresenting the facts by implying that many women had those sorts of jobs whereas only a few actually did. In addition, the occupations of the men on the posters are misrepresented, women could just as often be the same things, like drunkards and convicts and lunatics. If the poster were to have had numerical information added to it then the arguments would have been much less effective, because the actual situation would be much more apparent. The range of occupations of the men is very unfair since some of the men cannot help the condition that they are in, for example, lunatics, and being unfit for service. Those people; lunatics and those unfit for service, which are in bad situations, through no fault of their own; are being grouped with people like criminals, who have broken the law been immoral and generally unpleasant, and have chosen to be. ...read more.


These problems were already getting out of hand, giving in to the violence of the suffragettes would have sent the impression that violent protest gets you everything you want, and this would mean that the trouble would escalate until the government had anarchy on their hands The liberal party were having problems staying in power, in the 1910 by-elections the Conservative party made a massive comeback and from then on they had to concentrate on winning votes, the issue of votes for women would not win votes. Source E demonstrates another reason why women did not gain the vote by 1914. This source is a statement from a speech given by a member of parliament in 1913. It shows the kind of viewpoint that many people (especially men) had, that even the principal of giving women voting was unthinkable, the MP is suggesting in this speech is that giving women the vote, and consequently power over the country, is utterly foolish. One reason this MP may have felt this way is due to the stereotypes of women that were implanted into the minds of many ordinary people by society in childhood. Women were thought to be stupid, which, in fact was quite true, they were, because they had not been allowed to be educated. Women were meant to stay at home and occupy their lives with either housework or high society leisure. Thus a vicious circle ensued; they were stupid so were not allowed to be educated, therefore they were stupid. The fact that Herbert Asquith, the prime minister, hated the whole concept of giving the vote to women would have had a very big effect on some MP's; they might feel pressured to go along with the opinions of their leader to 'tow the party line' as it were. Also the fact that the PM has a large influence on government policies meant that the issue of votes for women was quashed by Asquith many times. ...read more.


The women had lost their freedom, pay, independence and most of all husbands and partners, the vote was to show them that this loss mattered. This suggests that the government wished to look as though they were giving the vote to women because of the war; in fact, they were giving it to them as an incentive to have children and rebuild the country. This in fact suggests that the work women did, had nothing to do with them getting the vote, it was the stereotypical image of women, which caused them to get the vote in 1919 after many years of suffrage. Another reason other than those mentioned in the sources is that the political system was exposed, because the war the system had gotten the country into was not being won quickly. This was also because the Russian revolution of october1917 had left the looming possibility that, the communists could find a foothold in Britain with the aid of British supporters. Having a restless public could put the country at a heightened risk of such an occurrence. It was also important to avoid another kind of revolution and that was mass violence by feminists, feminism had spread all over the world and was by then an international movement many countries having all ready given women the vote. If the government didn't give women the vote soon they risked violence on a much greater scale than they ever saw with the suffragettes. To conclude I am not in agreement with the statement. I believe that the government realised that they would have to give in eventually, after all many other countries had done so a long time before so instead of admitting that they had been wrong about women they covered it up by saying that the war had changed their minds. Although I have said this, I believe the war let them do this. By giving them, an excuse to give women the vote the war acted as a scapegoat and so did indirectly cause the change in combination with many other factors. Helen Crutcher ...read more.

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