British Depth Study - Women's Suffrage


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Women in Society in the 1800s
Had fewer rights, earned less etc, more opportunities, 1882 Women's Property Act helped, Factory Act 1896, NUWSS formed in 1897
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Right to vote
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Right to vote
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Arguments for Women's Suffrage
Many single women with similar responsibilities, Parliament's decision affects women, Women pay taxes, Can vote in local elections (1900s) - are trustworthy, Uneducated men can vote but educated respectable women can't
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Arguments against Women's Suffrage
Would encourage them to develop their careers and forget about having children, Men and women have different responsibilities, Why worry about it (Ireland and trade unions), Woman are pure should be protected, Women are not rational
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Early campaigners, middle-class, 1897 New Union of Women's Suffrage Society - over 500 local branches, 1902 had working-class women's support as well (Eva Gore-Booth gathered 67000 workers for a petition), Leader Millicent Fawcett.
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Frustrated by the lack of success, more radical and militant, formed in 1903 by Emmeline Pankurst, Women's Social and Political Union
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Suffragist Actions
Argues with MPs, issued leaflets, presented petitions and organised meetings, kept it in the public eye
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Suffragette Actions
Disrupted political meetings, harassed ministers until 1908
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January 1906
A liberal pro-women's suffrage government is elected
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March 1907
A women's suffrage bill is introduced but runs out of time
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February 1908
New women's suffrage bill is introduced, passed on second reading but gets no further
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March 1909
The liberal government introduces a radical Suffrage Bill - giving votes to almost all men and women wins by a majority of 34 on second reading but gets no further
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November 1909
A general election is called and so the Suffrage Bill is temporarily dropped
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June 1910
An all-party committee drafts a Conciliation Bill which gives women the vote, passed by a majority of 110 on the second reading
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18 November 1910
Prime Minister Asquith calls for a general election and the Bill is abandoned
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May 1911
Conciliation Bill is reintroduced gets a 167 majority, Asquith says it will be continued in 1912
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November 1911
Liberal government will not support the Bill, Wants to widen the vote for men instead, Could be ammended
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March 1912
Second reading of Conciliation Bill, Defeated by 14 votes
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June 1912
Suffrage bill introduced, postponed until next year
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Amendments were made but were withdrawn
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May 1913
A new private member's bill is introduced to give women the vote but is defeated by a majority of 48
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Direct Action begins, Suffragette campaign intensified, Edith New chained herself to the railings, threw stones at No.10 etc. Believed the government wasn't doing anything about women's suffrage because it was not an issue, Militancy made it noticed
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Reactions to Direct Action
Mixed - some were sympathetic but some were worried - Suffragists did not like it but didn't condemn them
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Emily Davison
4 June 1913 at the Derby. Emily Davison was an experienced campaigner, died on 8 June, People thought she had killed herself but now we think tr was a publicity stunt which went badly wrong.
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Effective Parts of the Suffragette Campaign
Achieved the aim of getting publicity, magazine Votes For Women had a circulation of 40,000 in 1914, Clever propagandists, Got sympathy and were admired because of the way they were treated
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Negative Parts of the Suffragette Campaign
Violence alienated the cause, Many supporters left, WSPU had 2000 members at its peak, Gave people a reason to reject it.
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Effective Parts of the Suffragist Campaign
NUWSS had over 500 branches and around 100,000 members by 1914, Knew how to use media, Used films etc, Many people supported the NUWSS because they saw the actions of the WSPU but did not support the militancy
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Card 2




Right to vote

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Card 4


Arguments for Women's Suffrage


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Card 5


Arguments against Women's Suffrage


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