Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different

Authors Avatar

Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different

As the campaign for women’s suffrage developed many women in the NUWSS (suffragists) became dissatisfied with the campaign and how little it was progressing. These women then formed a new organisation called the WSPU (suffragettes). The suffragists campaigned for only votes for women and preferred to use more peaceful ways of expressing their opinions and objections. However the suffragettes campaigned for better working and living conditions for women and were more forceful and aggressive in their methods of protests. Although their approach to achieving their aim was very different, their objectives remained essentially the same: securing women’s suffrage.


The tactics of the two groups were fundamentally different. The suffragist used tactics of persuasion to gain public and government support such as leaflets, posters and petition. On the other hand the suffragettes used aggressive tactics that forced people to meet their demands. The suffragettes sought always to be in the public eye to keep the attention on their cause. They did this by staging various violent and at times shocking acts. For example they often organised window smashing, bombings, and sabotages in many parts of Britain. They chained themselves to railings outside Downing street and Buckingham Palace and sometimes even physically assaulted politicians. This resulted in many suffragettes being arrested and going to prison however this benefited their cause by gaining publicity and sympathy from the public. Whilst in prison some suffragettes tried continue their protest and went on hunger strikes which caused the prison authorities to violently force feed them. In contrast most suffragists thought the aggressive suffragette tactics held back the campaign because they thought that the government would not give in to violence. They thought that the government and public would respond better to more peaceful ways of protesting and be more encouraged to grant women’s suffrage so they used tactics that were inoffensive and reasonable. A lot of leaflets posters and petitions were used in addition meetings were held in almost all constituencies which aided public awareness throughout the campaign. Millicent Fawcett was a very influential figure in deciding which tactics the NUWSS used and she herself went to many public debates with her opponents.

Join now!

Among the many differences there was also a geographical difference. The suffragists were based in Manchester and the suffragettes in London. This difference was essential for the suffragettes. They needed to be in a large city so all their shocking activity could have maximum impact. London was especially good because apart from the large population the suffragettes could attack the houses of parliament, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street as well as all the politicians based there. There were thirty four branches of WSPU in London alone.

Both the Suffragists and Suffragettes had very influential and powerful leaders and ...

This is a preview of the whole essay