Campaigns for Women Suffrage and their Effectiveness Essay

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Campaigns for Women Suffrage and their Effectiveness

Throughout the nineteenth century, the suffragists and the
suffragettes worked hard campaigning for women suffrage. Finally, in
1918, the vote was given to women, but only women over thirty. But
suffrage campaigns, although important, were not the only reason that
the franchise was granted. Some other reasons include, a fear of the
return of suffragette activity, the government following an
international trend, the government making changes to the voting
system anyway, and the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, being more
sympathetic to the cause that the previous Prime Minister was.

The long-term factor was, in fact, the suffrage campaigns. Both the
suffragists and the suffragettes had very different styles of
campaigning. The suffragist's tactics were based on putting steady
pressure on politicians, by holding lectures, organising marches,
publishing leaflets and gathering petitions. They were led by
Millicent Fawcett, and the group consisted of mainly middle class
women, although many working class women were recruited. However, the
suffragette's tactics were nearly the opposite, for they used militant
tactics to attract as much attention as they could. They were a
breakaway group, and were led by Emmeline Pankhurst. The militant
methods that they used were very violent and radical. They felt that
the only way to gain suffrage was to show extreme force. 'Never before
[had the British ruling class] awarded the vote without some show of
force', stated Emmeline Pankhurst. They thought that politicians would
never be able to ignore them, if they were always in the spotlight.

... middle of paper ...

... brought about
the franchise. Women had now won the right to have a say in how the
country was run because they had served their country well. But if
that was true, why did only women over 30 get the vote, when it was
mainly the younger, working class women who did most of the work? It
seemed that the government only gave suffrage to the less radical
women, and 'war work' was not such an important factor after all.

Suffrage campaigns were important to the gaining of the franchise,
because without the campaigns, the support, the publicity, the
changing opinions and putting the topic back on the political agenda,
it is very unlikely that women would have gained the vote. As women
hadn't yet gained the vote by 1914, it proves that even though the
suffrage campaigns were important, there was a trigger cause needed.

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