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Why did a Campaign for Women's Suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

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Introduction

Why did a Campaign for Women's Suffrage develop in the years after 1870? After 1870, campaigning for women's suffrage became increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Until the early-mid 1900's, women were treated poorly in comparison to men. They were not given the same opportunities in careers, education and voting. They did not have equal rights. Women helped pay the country's taxes, and yet they were not given the vote to influence how it was spent. Girls were not given the same education as boys, and were taught household chores and how to get a husband. Many poor uneducated men had the right to vote whilst wealthy, well educated women were not allowed. On a suffragist poster, a quote from an anti-suffragist reads: "Women are physically incapable of making this pledge [vote]". ...read more.

Middle

This idea was turned down. Following this meeting "The Sheffield Association for Female Franchise" was born, the first suffragist group. At this point in history women were beginning to win a few more rights, including being able to divorce their husband if he committed adultery or beat her. This could give suffragists the confidence they needed to campaign for their beliefs. The suffragists campaigned quietly without making much fuss until 1866, when a mass petition was signed asking for women's suffrage. This was rejected but a year later Parliament debated the Second Reform Bill, which allowed working class men in towns the right to vote. A writer called John Stuart Miller suggested that the word 'person' replaced 'man' in the bill. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Prime Minister, W E Gladstone, was Liberal and women suffragists supported him as they believed he would grant women the vote. This made the suffragists feel betrayed. Gladstone released the statement: "I do not wish to trespass on the delicacy, the purity and the refinement of woman's nature by giving her the vote". However by 1895 women had won certain other rights including the Married Women's Property Act which allowed married women to keep their own earnings, and other acts allowed them to go to university and become surgeons. Nevertheless there were still many problems concerning work. Women faced discrimination in whatever occupation they were in. Over the next two centuries suffrage campaigners fought and fought, gaining many enemies and supporters. The Suffragettes were born, using violent methods in desperation, to grab the attention of the media and politicians. They fought long and hard until finally winning the vote in 1918. ...read more.

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