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The Fight for the Right to Vote

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Presentation on theme: "The Fight for the Right to Vote"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Fight for the Right to Vote
“ Deeds not Words” The Fight for the Right to Vote

2 Women and the Vote Aims:
Identify the reasons why women did not have the vote. Outline two groups who campaigned for change – the Suffragists and the Suffragettes.

3 Key Words Democracy: All adults have the right to take part in regular, fair and free elections. Suffrage: The right to vote Franchise: Militant: Prepared to use violence

4 Extension of the Franchise
In the 19th Century Britain was not a democracy. Three great reform acts 1832, 1867 and 1884 gradually extended the franchise to most men. Women were not allowed to vote at all.

5 Votes for Women Women were treated as second class citizens.
Their role was to be a good wife and mother. Men argued women were too emotional and irrational to be trusted with the vote. They could not legally own property and her belongings automatically became the property of her husband. Society looked down on divorce and it was almost impossible to escape an unhappy marriage. Women knew they would never achieve equality with men unless they had the vote.

6 The Suffragists In 1867 MP John Stuart Mill proposed that women should be given the vote. This was rejected. Women Suffragists, who were mainly middle class campaigned peacefully through letters and petitions hoping to persuade the government to change its mind. In 1897 all the women’s suffrage societies joined together in the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) led by Millicent Fawcett.

7 Suffragette Sources On the next couple of slides you will examine different sources about the Suffragettes. How useful are these sources as evidence of the Suffragettes campaign to get votes for women?

8 Date Authorship Suffragette Poster 1910 Detail Limitation Purpose

9 Detail Purpose Accuracy Authorship Date
On 2 July 1909, Marion Wallace Dunlop went on hunger strike because she was treated like an ordinary criminal. After 91 hours without food she was released. In September, the Home Secretary ordered force feeding. Many people were horrified at the cruelty of the Government. An extract from ‘Scotland and Britain’ by Sandra Chalmers and Larry Cheyne (2004). Authorship Date

10 Purpose Authorship Date Bias Limitation Exaggeration

11 The WSPU In 1903 frustrated by their lack of success, Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel broke away from the NUWSS and formed their own suffrage movement the Women’s Social and Political Union.

12 Tactics The main aim of the WSPU was to attract publicity.
Initially women disrupted political meetings, held demonstrations and devised publicity stunts like chaining themselves to the railings at Downing Street. They did get publicity but they were often ridiculed.

13 The Suffragettes Despite their efforts the women were still no nearer to getting the vote. After 1905 more militant action was proposed even if it meant breaking the law. A number of arrests and imprisonments followed as the women were charged with disorderly conduct. The Daily Mail coined the nickname the Suffragettes.

14 Hunger Strikes In 1909 Marion Wallace Dunlop was the first Suffragette to go on hunger strike in prison. The Government were alarmed by this and they decided to force feed the hunger strikers. Struggling suffragettes were held down and rubber tubes two feet long were pushed down their noses into their stomachs and liquid food forced into them.

15 Black Friday In 1910 a peaceful demonstration to the House of Commons ended in violent action by the police against the demonstrators. At this time a bill (proposed law) was put to Parliament to give women the vote. However there was not enough support and the bill failed. This photo appeared in the press the next day entitled Black Friday.

16 The Wild Period In 1912, hundreds of women took to the streets of London to protest after, once again, Parliament refused to give women the vote. They smashed shop windows on Oxford street and even threw stones at 10 Downing Street. At the Derby in 1913 Emily Wilding Davison threw herself in front of the King’s horse and was killed she was the first suffragette martyr.

17 The Cat and Mouse Act There was uproar in the press when news of the force feeding was leaked. The Government passed the Prisoner’s Temporary Discharge Act to allow ill suffragettes to go home, recover, then rearrested them in an attempt to prevent any actual deaths from hunger strike. This Suffragette poster shows what they thought about the government.

18 Further Violence January to July 1914 there were 107 incidents of arson 11 works of art were damaged including the Rokeby Venus Telegraph wires were cut. Acid was poured through letterboxes Liberal MPs including the Prime Minister – Herbert Asquith were physically attacked.

19 The Rokeby Venus On March 10th 1914, Mary Richardson attacked the painting with a meat cleaver. She was sentenced to six months imprisonment – the maximum sentence for destruction of an artwork.

20 Did Violence help the Suffragette Cause?
Yes The brutal treatment given in prison won the support of the public. The government were very concerned that there would be an increase in violence used by the Suffragettes The violence kept the Suffragette issue in the forefront of public attention No Many people were convinced that the Suffragettes were mentally unstable. The government could not be seen to give way to violence Violence provided the government with an excuse not to give the vote. The violence of the Suffragettes undid much of the good work of the peaceful Suffragists.

21 Nickname of Organisation
Revision Task Nickname of Organisation Suffragists Suffragettes Proper Name Year It Was Set Up Leader Aim Tactics Peaceful Militant Examples of Tactics

22 The First World War Aims:
Identify the role that women played during the Great War Identify the reasons why women got the vote in 1918.

23 War Breaks Out On the 4th August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany.
Mrs Pankhurst called off the suffragette campaign and urged women to join the war effort. Women joined the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) as nurses and took over all sorts of men’s jobs. Women risked their lives working in the munitions factories The women’s war effort was highly praised by the public and the press

24 Women rubber workers building treads on tyres, Lancashire
Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps preparing food at an army camp in France Women rubber workers building treads on tyres, Lancashire

25 Women operating cranes in a shell-filling factory
Railway Workers cleaning carriages

26 The Representation of the People Act 1918
Many soldiers who had been out in France fighting for their country did not have the right to vote. A Speaker’s conference was called to discuss that and the issue of women voting. The new Prime Minister Lloyd George and other MPs were more sympathetic to the idea of giving women the vote. It was decided to give women over the age of 30 the right to vote – it was mainly middle class women who benefited. Women did not achieve voting rights to equal to men until 1928.

27 Did the Women’s War Effort get the Vote?
There was a great deal of praise for women especially women munitions workers but under the 30 year age rule most munitions workers were left out. The government were worried that there might be renewed violence by the suffragettes. In France where there was no corresponding suffragette movement women did not get the vote However women in other democratic countries eg New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Canada were getting the vote. How could Britain lag behind?

28 Did Violence help the Suffragette Cause?
Yes The brutal treatment given in prison won the support of the public. The government did not want a renewal of pre war violence The violence kept the suffragette issue in the forefront of public attention No A lot of people were convinced that the suffragettes were mentally unstable. The government could not be seen to give way to violence Violence provided the government with an excuse not to give the vote. The violence of the suffragettes undid much of the good work of the peaceful suffragists.

29 Women in Parliament 17 women candidates stood in the 1919 election, only one Constance Markiewicz was elected but she refused her seat in the commons. The first woman to enter parliament was Nancy Astor in 1919. The first and only woman Prime Minister so far was Margaret Thatcher elected in 1979 Currently 144 out of 650 MPs are women.

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