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

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Name: Eva Fernandes Class: Sr: 5D Date: 29-09-04 G.C.S.E HISTORY Coursework No.1 Assignment Objective 1 Topic: Women's Right to Vote Sources: Books: Votes for Women 1860- 1928- Paula Bertley The Changing Role of Women - Paula Bertley Feminist Theories - Barbra Winslow The Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain 1866-1928 by Sophia A. van Wingerden Votes for Women (Women's History) by June Purvis and Sandra Stanley Holton Websites: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wwspu.htm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/53819.stm http://www.welshcommunists.co.uk/suff.htm http://www.encyclopedia.com/section/womansuf_InGreatBritain.asp Word Count: 1,873 Q.1 Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? Ans.1: From 1837 to 1901 Britain, reached its highest power, and was ruled over by a female monarch. Queen Victory ruled over a society in which women were denied the same political rights as men, in employment they experienced exploitation, whilst the doors to professional careers remained closed to them. Society expected women to be wives and mothers and assumed that women were economically and socially dependant on men. The vote was seen as a device which could be utilized to force the government to take women's issues seriously. Thus began the suffrage movement in the years after 1870. Education was seen by feminists as the key to unlock the closed doors of the masculine world of politics. The pauper children went to workhouse schools, and the young factory workers attended factory schools. The girls of a higher class went to state schools, which taught them the basic reading, writing and mathematical skills. The system emphasized subjects like cookery, needlework, housewifery at the expense of other subjects. All women, whatever the intelligence or capability were denied access to both universities and medical schools. ...read more.


The futile results of the NUWSS efforts of persuasion caused the formation of The Women's Social and Political Union was formed in 1903 by a group of former members of the NUWSS in Manchester who were no longer willing to restrict themselves to the constitutional methods favoured by the NUWSS. They resolved to limit their membership exclusively to women, to keep themselves absolutely free from party affiliation, and to be satisfied with nothing but action on their question. "Deeds, not Words" was their permanent motto. They were more aggressive and in January 1906 the Daily Mail coined the word 'suffragette' for the WSPU members, and the name stuck. The younger suffragettes realized that the polite methods previously used by the older generation were achieving nothing and the only option left was to act up for the press. The suffragists restricted it self to peaceful demonstrations and more petitions but the suffragettes switched to hurling stones through windows and when caught the suffragettes refused to be fined and chose imprisonment and went on hunger strikes. Marion Wallace, in 1909, became the first hunger striker; the strikes drew the press, and the public's interest. Suffrage had thus become a national issue. In 1910 the Conciliation Bill and the1913 the Franchise Reform Bill were drafted in Parliament but were tossed out due to a bureaucratic slip-up. The suffragettes became dangerously frustrated and felt that they were left only to militant tactics and destroyed public and private property. They set arson to houses, seared golf courses with acid, burnt down sports pavilions, broke street lamps, stomped on flower beds, painted "Votes for Women" on the seats at Hampstead Heath, plugged up keyholes ...read more.


The women by throwing off Victorian ideals created a new identity and a new place in society for themselves. With the coming of the war, the suffragettes patriotically suspended all militancy during the war, and undertook responsibilities, such as working in munitions factories, hospitals, and municipal offices. However the leader of the Suffragists, Millicent Fawcett declared that it was suspending all political activity until the conflict was over. Although the NUWSS supported the war effort, it did not follow the WSPU strategy of becoming involved in persuading young men to join the armed forces. The suffragists consisted of older women when compared to the active, aggressive and violent young suffragettes. It must be noted that only women over 30 were given the vote and they were not the ones who had made the most substantial contribution towards the war. The younger women, the suffragists, who helped out in munitions factories, and the war effort in general, were actually denied the vote. In conclusion I would like to state that the excessive and demonstrative pre-war campaigning and violent militancy the suffragist and suffragettes employed, made women's suffrage a national issue. As more and more women and men became aware of their cause, suffrage seemed achievable. Parliament realized this. The coming of the war saw a change in leaders who were more sympathetic to their cause. They used the war as an excuse to give women the right to vote. On the basis of this I disagree with the statement. However if women had not contributed to the war effort with the fervor that they did, parliament may not been able to justify giving women the vote. In this way I agree with the statement. Therefore on the basis of the above, I partially agree with the statement. 1 ...read more.

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