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Suffragists And Suffragettes Analysis

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To what extent were changing attitudes in British society the major reason why some women received the vote in 1918? In the middle of the C19th, women were seen as equivalent to their children in the eyes of the law and ruling men. As a result, they were denied the vote in 1867 and 1884 even as more men were enfranchised. However, by 1918 some women had gained the right to vote in national elections, an issue that was partly due to attitudes towards women having been changed drastically throughout the period. Changing attitudes was the most important factor as it created the preconditions for change. This was then further built upon by other factors such as women's war work, the Suffragists and the Suffragettes, which all played an important…show more content…
The Suffragists used a different approach, they believed in the “peaceful persuasion” strategy. They campaigned by using meetings, pamphlets, petitions and parliamentary bills. The organisation had an impressive membership and spread support, the membership totalled 53,000 by 1914. This shows that by 1914 the Suffragists were very effective in changing the attitudes of the British population. The peaceful methods used by the Suffragists led to the common misconception that the organisation was ineffective. However, the peaceful methods the Suffragists used where arguably seen to be more effective than the violent method of the Suffragettes. Joyce Marlow said that: “For every Suffragette there was always dozens of non – militant Suffragists” . Praising their importance are it reiterates the size of the Suffragist campaign compared to that of the Suffragette campaign. The Suffragists were also important as added to this, they attracted the support of many backbench MPs who regularly brought the issue up in parliament. They also were rumoured to gain the support of Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. However, they turned their backs on the cause due to the militancy of the Suffragettes. In 1913, David Lloyd George said, “Haven’t the Suffragettes the sense to see that the very worst way of campaigning or…show more content…
The Suffragettes were formed due to the Pankhurst’s being frustrated both by the lack of success and by the lack of interest in the NUWSS peaceful persuasion campaign. In 1912, Emmeline Pankhurst stated that: “We have tried every way, but we have had contempt poured upon us. Violence is the only way that we have to get the power that every citizen should have.” The Suffragettes went with the motto “Deeds not words”. Some historians believe that they were the most important factor as they brought the issue to a national audience through the media. In 1967, the historian Constance Rover said, “While there are marked differences of opinion about the value of militancy to the movement, there is a fair measure of agreement that it was positively helpful in its early days. The militants kept the movement in the public eye and much of the credit must be given to them for Parliament dealing seriously with the question from 1910 onwards.” The Suffragettes participated in many events in which to gain publicity. Examples include; mailboxes being set alight, the personal attack on Prime minister, Asquith on the Lossiemouth golf course and chaining themselves to the railings outside parliament. This forced the police to arrest them and presented a propaganda image to the public. In a sense, it gave the cause a positive view as it did keep the issue in the papers and forcing action to happen. However,
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