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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? In the years before 1870 women were treated very differently from men. Few women went to school or university, instead they were expected to spend their lives raising their children and running the household, or doing jobs deemed suitable for women only. Due to the old fashioned views about women and politics, many people especially the upper and middle class believed that as women had no education, they would have no idea or interest in politics, and therefore only men deserved the right to vote. However, many women especially in the lower class and those who were married as they had the least rights as they were the property of their husbands, wanted the vote so that they could get more rights and safeguard those that they already had and were getting towards the end of the 19th Century. It was widely accepted as being the natural order that women were physically, mentally and morally inferior to men. Women wanted the vote so that they could end the gender divide, by proving their equality with men and so they started to campaign for this right. ...read more.

Middle

However women over the age of 21 could not vote, even if they were educated and therefore cleverer than an uneducated male voter was, also even if they owned they required amount of land/property they still couldn't vote as they were women. They believed that they were subject to the same laws as males and therefore should have the same privileges as men did especially the vote. Moreover women were subject to taxes as were men (surely they should have the vote as they pay for parliament). More said that if history had allowed women to be queens (as the reigning monarch was Queen Victoria) surely this would prove that they were fit to undertake the role of a monarch they should be rewarded with the vote. Also to add to the injustice of the sexual double standard men who were lunatics and convicts were not allowed to vote. Women believed that they were being compared to these people in the fact that they had no right to vote. The women also felt strongly that the only way to protect their newly gained votes was to have the right to vote, and so this was what their campaign continued to focus on. ...read more.

Conclusion

One such prominent figure was Mary Wollstonecraft; she was one of the few early feminists and was a radical with very strong views on what the problem was, and what a campaign for women's suffrage must do in order to achieve those aims. Unlike what was stereotypically thought about her she was highly intellectual, and had written many letters, essays, novels and political tracts, and had also witnessed the French Revolution, which had undoubtedly made her views even stronger. She inspired many women to attend meeting of Women's Suffrage organisations to campaign for their rights. In Conclusion, a campaign for women's suffrage began in the years after 1870 as women had realised that they could do something about the conditions and their life that they were forbidden from doing. Many women felt that they had to change the gender divide across the nation, to gain rights for women in their home lives and to help protect them from their husbands where needed, to gain economic and social rights, and most importantly to gain the right to vote so that their views could be properly expressed and dealt with by Parliament, which would safeguard their current rights and help them to gain more or to improve the ones they currently had. Colin Moore 10C Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? 02/05/07 ...read more.

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