Essay on Campaign for Women's Suffrage in 1870

Essay on Campaign for Women's Suffrage in 1870

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Campaign for Women's Suffrage in 1870

Women in the hundreds of years preceeding the crucial date of 1870 had
always faced a life that they would be better of in as men. They had
few, if any, rights to the things they owned, even there own children
and they could effectively be bought or sold by parents and
prospective partners alike. A woman belonged first to her parents then
to her husband and was expected to carry out certain duties according
to her class, without hesitation or complaining. The closer we get to
the 1870s, the more middle and upper class women start to realise that
the duel roles of child bearer and home maker are not the one that
they need to be confined to. Shifting views in society about the role
of women happened over time but nothing was really accomplished until
1839 when the 'Custody of Infants Act' was passed which meant that
women could now take custody of her children in the then unlikely
event of a divorce. It was, many believe, the first step on a long
road to equality which would take well over 150 years.

The way in which women were treated increased the level animosity to
such a point that the government started having to make concessions to
women in the form of such Parliamentary acts as the aforementioned
'Custody of Infants Act.' Also the 1857 'Matrimonial Causes Act' which
enabled women to have a divorce through the law courts, instead of the
slow and expensive business of a Private Act of Parliament. Under the
terms of the act, the husband had only to prove his wife's adultery,
but the wife had to prove her husband had committed not just adultery
but also incest, bigamy, cruelty or deser...


... middle of paper ...


...
its wish.

Overall, I feel that out of the panoply of different reasons for the
way in which the suffrage movement developed, the most major ones are
those relating to the various leaders of the movement. Without proper
leaders who have the ability to unite and empower the people who
believe in them there would be no movement at all, only subversive
muttering and unheard complaints. It is also my belief that the
schooling plays an important part in creating women with the will to
fight for the vote. If fewer women were learned enough to take up the
argument on an intellectual level then the movement would have been
unable to get going with the same force of support.

If I were to sum up why the suffrage movement developed after 1870 in
three words they would be these; education, unification and
determination.

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