The Suffragette Movement

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From High Society to Holloway; How Lady Constance Lytton used her familial status to contribute to The Suffragette Movement and penal reform in Britain. (1908-1914)
In Britain, throughout the Nineteenth century women had little impact on the politics of the nation. However, at the turn of the twentieth century, the demand for equal rights for women became more prevalent and many women across Britain began to campaign for the right to vote. These peaceful campaigns became known as the ‘Women’s Suffrage Movement’. However, these campaigns became increasingly militant and in 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women’s Social and Political Union(WSPU). While the WSPU’s use of violence and anti-social behaviour was widely disapproved of, the ‘Suffragette
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(Lady Constance Lytton, 'Prisons and Prisoners ', William Heinneman, 1914, p.81) However, when introduced to The Suffragette Movement by Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, a treasurer for the WSPU, Lytton developed an interest in the movement and began to study the ‘Votes for Women’ papers to fully understand the movement. On the 28th January 1909 Lytton officially joined the WSPU and published a pamphlet, “No Votes for Women.”: A Reply To Some Recent Anti Suffrage Publications’(1909), in which she defended the right of women to vote. In February 1909, Lytton attended a deputation to the Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith. During this demonstration, Lytton was arrested for the first time. On the 25th of February Lytton was sentenced at Bow Street magistrates court to two months in Holloway Prison. (Lady Constance Lytton, 'Prisons and Prisoners ', William Heinneman, 1914, p.101) Lytton’s arrest drew much media attention and shocked the public, the headlines of The Daily Mirror featured news of the charges. Upon arrival in Holloway Lytton was sent to the infirmary due to a heart condition. Upon realising that there were women in much worse condition than she had been in the general population Lytton began to protest to be released from the infirmary and be treated as the…show more content…
In May Lytton released an article in ‘Votes for Women’, titled ‘Putting Back the Clock.’ (Votes for Women, 7 May 190, Vol. 2 pg.625) Emmeline Pankhurst and other leaders in the movement emphasised the importance of having Lytton’s name prominent in order to gain approval and more attention towards the movement. Because of this Lytton opened Suffragette events in Knightsbridge, London, using her social status to attract large crowds. In order to promote the movement postcards featuring Lytton wearing her Suffragette medals were sold. During this time, Lytton was quickly gaining position as a suffragette and had great influence over the women. As a result of this, when hunger strike became a strong and popular form of protest, Lytton decided that the only way to correctly draw attention to these protests and to live up to her position within the movement was to experience this
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