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Why, despite the suffragette activity, had women not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War?

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Introduction

3. 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? The first reason why the women had not gained the vote by WW1 was simply because Parliament didn't allow it. In the years before 1900, 15 bills for women's suffrage had been put forward to Parliament by a group of women known as the suffragists. Each time, the bill failed. The lack of success annoyed many suffragists and by 1903, Ms Emmeline Pankhurst created another organisation of women known as the suffragettes. One of the biggest reasons was people's views on equality of the sexes. The public, MPs and even the other women felt that men were superior to women. Men of that era believed that women were irrational, second class and unsuitable. Source E, part of a speech made by a Member of Parliament in 1913 stated that if women did gain the vote, it meant that most voters would be women. ...read more.

Middle

MP's who supported the suffragettes were put off and felt they should not give the vote because of their radical ways. 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. Source D is a passage from a book written by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1912. She writes "Now the newspapers are full of us", by this time, people were fed up of reading about the Suffragettes in the newspapers. Pankhurst is regarded un-lady like when she says "we will fight for our cause". This was another reason why the women did not receive the vote. She continues to write "In 1906 there was a very large section of the public who were in favour of women's suffrage", this may have been a large and biased exaggeration hence they did not succeed. ...read more.

Conclusion

With the Queen and many other women against women's suffrage it held back the vote. A further reason why the suffragettes did not receive the vote was that they did not stick together. In September 1907, The WSPU split into two. It was still dominated by the Pankhursts but some members broke away to form the 'Women's Freedom League'. The two organisations often worked together but there were many disagreements about the amount of violence. The Pethick Lawrences left in 1912, they were the fundraisers. At the 1913 Derby, to draw attention to the women's movement, Emily Davidson stepped out in front of the king's horse and attempted to snatch the rains. It is claimed that Emily held on for a few seconds, but the horse moving at over 30mph and weighing over three-quarters of a ton, knocked her over. The horse stumbled throwing the rider, Jones violently to the ground. He and Davidson were both bleeding badly. Unfortunately, Davidson never regained consciousness and died four days later. On 10th March 1914, Suffragette Mary Richardson violently slashed Velazquez's "Rokeby Venus" at London's National Gallery as a protest against the British government's treatment of Emmeline Pankhurst. ...read more.

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