History Prelim (6/12)

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The Campaign for the Vote 

In 1866, a number of women took a petition, signed by 1,500 women and asking for the vote, to Parliament, where two of the handful of pro-vote MPs presented it.   In 1897, the various women’s societies joined together into the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).   These ‘Suffragists’ as they were called, campaigned peacefully for the vote.   Although the number of pro-suffrage MPs in the House of Commons grew, the Suffragists got nowhere.  

In 1903, therefore, Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU - see Source a.).   The ‘Suffragettes’, as they came to be called, were much more militant.   They held mass-meetings, sent deputation to 10 Downing Street, interrupted from the Ladies Gallery during debates in the House of Commons and - eventually - burned, bombed and smashed to try to get the vote.  

Source a

The importance of the vote.

It is important that women should have the vote so that, in the government of the country, the woman’s point of view can be put forward.   Very little has been done for women by legislation


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