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Women's Suffrage Essay

1252 words - 6 pages

The greatest change brought by the twentieth century would have to have been the Women’s Suffrage. They struggled for the right to vote, the right for equal pay and many other issues that I will discuss in this paper.
Women’s Suffrage in England Women’s Suffrage in the right of women to share political privileges on equal terms with men, the right to vote in elections and referendums, and the right to hold public office. The women’s suffrage was a worldwide issue that had begun a long time before the 19th century. The issues involving women’s right to vote was aroused in 1839 when the American Missionary Association began to work to develop education opportunities for blacks and ...view middle of the document...

Seventeen Suffragist societies had united to form a stronger, larger society. Lydia Becker was elected the President of the NUWSS; she died 3 years later, leaving Millicent Fawcett as the President. Millicent Fawcett believed that is was important to campaign for a wide variety of causes, not just for the vote. Previous to the NUWSS formation Fawcett worked for the Married Women’s Property Act. She was also a member of the Liberal-Unionist group from 1887- 1903. Fawcett spent her life fighting for the women’s suffrage by giving National speaking tours, Parliamentary lobbying, and party alliances.
“The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), organized by Emmeline Pankhurst, employed militant tactics, which increased the hostility of their opponents.” (Perry 214) Members of the WSPU no longer were willing to restrict themselves to the constitutional methods used by the NUWSS. Their motto was “Deeds, not words”, which meant that they were ready to take action to get what they wanted. In1905, Christabel Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline) and Annie Kenney attended a meeting in London to hear Sir Edward Grey (Minister in British government). During the meeting the girls shouted “Will the Liberal Government get Votes to Women?” When the Minister refused to answer their question, they persisted to yell out the question. They were then evicted from the meeting but they refused to leave without a fight, which resulted with them getting arrested and charged with assault. This was the first time Britain Women used violence to win the vote. From that day on the WSPU started to use Militant actions rather than constitutional actions.
The public gave members of the WSPU the name Suffragettes. Emmeline Pankhurst was first arrested in 1908, which accelerated the campaigns illegal tactics. In 1908 Suffragettes marched into Downing street. throwing small stones through the windows of the Prime Minister’s home. As an outcome 27 women were arrested and sent to Holloway Prison. The Suffragettes tried to forcefully enter The House of Commons. The police and authorities arrested 24 of the women suffragettes. The WSPU said, “Keep the Liberal out” because the government had the power to pass a Suffrage Bill and they continued to decline the suffrage, the WSPU would continue to use militants. The election policy of the NUWSS was “Obtaining declarations of opinions from all candidates at each election and supporting the man, independent of party, who gave the most satisfactory assurance of support.” The members of the NUWSS feared that the militant actions of the WSPU would alienate potential supporters of the Women’s Suffrage. However, they admired their...

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