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Women and the Vote

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION The right to vote (suffrage) in general elections was given to women over thirty years of age in 1918. This new law was passed by Parliament at the end of the First World War (1914 - 1918). Some women had been campaigning for women's right to vote many years before the war started. 'Suffragists', was the name given to those women who campaigned peacefully for this; 'Suffragettes' was the name given to those women who used violence in their campaigns to secure the vote. The Suffragettes produces eye-catching posters, organised demonstrations, broke shop windows, chained themselves to railings and set fire to post-boxes. Fights with police sometimes broke out and, when arrested and imprisoned, some women went on hunger strike. When war against Germany broke out in August 1914, the Suffragettes stopped their campaigning and threw their support behind the war effort. They encouraged men to join the army and appealed to women to take over the work of men while they were away fighting. In this assignment I will be investigating why the right to vote was granted to some women in 1918. QUESTIONS QUESTION 1. STUDY SOURCE A WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM SOURCE A ABOUT THE REASONS GIVEN BY THE SUFFRAGETTES FOR DEMANDING VOTES FOR WOMEN? (6 marks) Source A is a Suffragette Poster produced in 1912. The purpose of this poster is to educate everyone about the fact the most 'Democratic' country in the World at this time is not quite as 'democratic' as we may all think. The poster shows that if a woman is a Mayor, a Nurse, a Mother, a Doctor, a Teacher or a Factory Hand they are still not allowed to vote. However it shows men who are allowed to vote despite being Convicts, Lunatics, Drunkards, Unfit for Service (Disabled) and even a Proprietor of white slaves. From studying Source A, I have learned about the reasons given by the Suffragettes for demanding votes for women. ...read more.

Middle

Also the men in power were intransigent and unwilling to move any further in the debate of female suffrage. The fact that female suffrage was no longer a high priority topic in the House of Commons since only 10 % of the people were actually in favour of votes for women. This was due to the work done by the Anti-Suffrage League and about the fact that women were not united in this cause. The Anti-Suffrage League campaigned against votes for women. The fact that women were not united in this cause meant that there was no strength in numbers; there were not enough women. This was also another reason why female suffrage was not granted at the time. The Liberal Party at the time had other problems/issues such as granting Ireland 'Home Rule' which means self-government and the increasing poverty in Britain to worry about a few crazy women wanting to vote. Also the Liberal Government was aware of the rising tensions in Europe and the possible out break of World War I. QUESTION 4. STUDY SOURCES F AND G. HOW USEFUL ARE THESE TWO SOURCES AS EVIDENCE FOR THE CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR EFFORT IN THE YEARS 1914 - 1918? (10 marks) Both Sources F and G are very useful as evidence for the contribution to the war effort in the years 1914 - 1918 made by women. However both the Sources have limitations to the extent to which they could provide information. Source F is a propaganda poster produced by the government in 1916. Its purpose is to attract women to work in the munitions factories for the government and to show everyone that woman who were one fighting against the government are now working with the government helping the British war effort. It shows a woman possible a pre - suffragette working in a munitions factory, she is wearing glamorous clothing, which makes her look glamorous. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was not only the Suffragettes who had been campaigning, for many years before the suffragettes were even formed, the suffragists had campaigned for female suffrage. However they were not as widely heard of as the suffragettes. This was because they did not use violence as their main form of protests; they used peaceful methods as friendly campaigning. The campaigning methods of the suffragettes were what got them noticed, as to some people they came out as a radical feminist movement. As the suffragists were 'quiet', they were not heard and therefore did not make much of an impact. Other long term causes that lead to female suffrage being granted after the war were that before the was there was a lot of speculation about the building of armies and naval fleets, and many people feared that a war was going to break out. As a result politicians were more concerned about the prevention of the war than other matters, such as female suffrage. When the war begun, to the relief of many politicians the suffragettes stopped their campaign of violence and focused on helping their country fight the war. This showed them as being nationalistic and having love and pride for their country. The government saw this and realised that they were like all other Britons and deserved the right to vote. After examining all the sources, I have come to the conclusion that it was the contribution women made to the British war effort was a large factor in gaining them the right to vote. Another major factor that contributed to this reward was the fact that the Suffragettes withheld their campaign of violence for the duration of the war. I also believe that it was this tremendous mood of change that also earned women suffrage. These three major factors proved to government that women had earned their right to vote. ?? ?? ?? ?? Asim Macci Women and the Vote 11R Assignment 2 History Coursework Page 10 Page 1 ...read more.

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