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Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different?

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

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1650 | Submitted: 09-Nov-2008
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Describe the ways in which the methods of the suffragists and suffragettes were different?


In the 19th century women had no place in national politics. They could not stand as candidates for Parliament. They were not even allowed to vote. It was assumed that women did not need the vote because their husbands would take responsibility in political matters. A woman's role was seen to be owned by the husband and taking care of the home.

As a result of the industrial revolution, many women were in full-time employment which meant they had opportunities to meet in large organised groups to discuss political and social issues.
In 1866, a group of women organised a petition that demanded that women should have the same political rights as men. The women took their petition to Henry Fawcett and John Stuart Mill, two MPs who supported universal suffrage. Mill added an adjustment to the Reform Act that would give women the same political rights as men. The adjustment was defeated by 196 votes to 73.
In the wake of this defeat the London Society for Women's Suffrage was formed. Similar Women Suffrage groups were formed all over Britain. In 1887, seventeen of these individual groups joined together to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). The NUWSS was formed in 1897 and was led by Millicent Fawcett. They were the first of the two organizations to begin, and throughout their time of running they brought in around 500,000 supporters with a total annual income of around £45,000. They ran a newspaper named ‘The Common Cause’ and kept in contact with other suffragist organizations, as well as the Labour Party. They only dealt out non-violent acts of campaigning. These included Petitioning Parliament, newspapers, demonstrations and meetings.
The NUWSS decided that the only way to get their point across was to perform legal actions in the forms of non-violent protesting and petitioning. They thought in order for the dream of women's suffrage to become reality, they needed to educate women and that peaceful methods should be used to change the law. These included public meetings, processions (such as the 1917 mud march), publishing their views in their newspaper and petitioning parliament (where they got petitions signed from high powered members of parliament).

All MP's who liked the idea of equal rights between genders put forward bills to the parliament. From the years 1870 to 1914 a total of 30 bills were put forward to legalize, but not even one was made an act since they were all stopped by anti-suffragists. These bills included giving the right to vote to female householders.

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