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Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

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Edward Eaton History Coursework Assignment 1 Votes for Women c.1900-28 1. Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? Due to educational and property reforms, women gained many of the civil and legal liberties previously exclusive to the male population, and although women could hold professional employment, the inevitable franchise was delayed by repeated failure of bills, leading to frustration and creation of women's suffrage groups. Before the late nineteenth century, women were expected to become mothers and stay in the domestic sphere, looking after the home and children. The husband, usually the breadwinner would have many more rights such as health insurance and property ownership. Working class women were also restricted to low-paying textile factory jobs or domestic service. Due to educational reforms in 1870 and 1890, elementary education was now available to all women, and employment areas were also opened. By 1901, there were 172,000 female school teachers and 212 women doctors. ...read more.


Despite public support, the government stopped Bills for the Women's Franchise. The Women's Suffrage Bill in 1897 was heavily defeated, and parliament had voted nearly fifty times on votes for women by 1914. The women's suffrage bill of 1987 passed a second reading but did not get through, and Shackleton's Conciliation Bill of 1910 had good support, although Asquith argued there was no mandate, as women were not voters. The legal and civil rights women had gained in the nineteenth century caused many people to call for the franchise, and although there was much support for the women's vote, the bills failed to get through parliament. This was partly due to the house of lord's veto until 1911 that blocked the proposals. However, the near successes meant the people who were for the vote became frustrated and called for organised suffrage such as the NUWSS and the WSPU in 1897 and 1903. The theory in the initiation of these groups was to create increased pressure on the government, so that future legislation would be passed, and narrow failures such as with previous proposals would not occur. ...read more.


They set up the Votes for Women newspaper that was hugely popular amongst women. Later, when a moderate leader, Despard, left the union, acts became more radical such window breaking, stone throwing, and then arson attacks, acid on golf courses and telephone wire cutting. In 1913 Minister Lloyd George's house was bombed and later in May, Emily Davison was martyred when she died after running under the king's horse in order to disrupt a race. The tactics used were deliberately violent so as to attract public attention. Suffragettes were often arrested, which would give them more publicity, and once in prison, some women went on hunger strike in order to keep the cause in public view. The leader Emmeline Pankhurst had a very clear view of what she was aiming for, which was disruption in order to create publicity. She herself went on hunger strike ten times and even expelled her daughter Sylvia for socialist and pacifist ideas. The Suffragists were more moderate. There were two main groups, the Women's Freedom League and the National Union of Women's Suffrage societies, set up in 1897 and led by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. ...read more.

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