Category Archives: Women’s Suffrage 1898-1914

What does democracy mean in Britain?

Britain undergoes periods of democratic introspection about once every decade but what is often a frenzy of calls for constitutional change quickly subsides and the country returns to its normal state of constitutional lassitude.  Britain is not unique in doing … Continue reading

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Posted in News and politics, Nineteenth century politics, Women's Suffrage 1898-1914 | Tagged , ,

Emily Wilding Davison and the 1913 Derby

The protest at the Derby on 4 June 1913 and subsequent events were discussed in my Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain 1830-1918 and I have taken the opportunity in its centennial year to extend that discussion.  On 4 … Continue reading

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The Anti-Suffragist movement

The anti-suffragist movement aimed to resist any proposal to admit women to the parliamentary franchise and to Parliament but to maintain the principle of the representation of women on municipal and other bodies concerned with the domestic and social affairs … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Women and politics, Women's Suffrage 1898-1914 | Tagged , ,

Opposition to women’s suffrage

Organised opposition to women’s suffrage has almost as long a history as women’s suffrage. [1] A Parliamentary Committee for Maintaining the Integrity of the Franchise was formed in 1875 after the 1875 suffrage bill failed to pass its second reading … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Women and politics, Women's Suffrage 1898-1914 | Tagged , , ,

Why not give women the vote?

Not all women wanted the vote. Queen Victoria who felt quite capable of ruling an empire and yet opposed women’s suffrage referring to it as ‘this mad, wicked folly’. [1] Many women campaigners, such as Octavia Hill, were convinced that … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Women's Suffrage 1898-1914 | Tagged , ,

What if?

The history of the women’s movement from John Stuart Mill onwards is a fine blend of heroism and farce that came to an abrupt halt in 1914 by which time the movement lacked any obvious strategy for success. The failure … Continue reading

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Why did women want the vote?

This is an extract from my forthcoming book: Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain, 1830-1918 The prolonged demise of Chartism during the 1850s sapped working-class calls for the franchise and the fragmented nature of party politics in the 1850s … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Women's Suffrage 1898-1914, Women's Suffrage to 1898 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How did different social groups respond to women’s suffrage?

  British society was as divided over women’s suffrage as the major political parties.  Broadly, society fell into three categories. There were those who supported the call for women’s suffrage. There were those who opposed it. Finally, there was what … Continue reading

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How political parties reacted to women’s suffrage: the Liberal Party

  The Liberals were in government after 1906 and it was because of their unwillingness to respond positively to demands for women’s suffrage that the WSPU’s militant campaign escalated[1]. The government’s reaction to women’s suffrage campaigns was negative despite there … Continue reading

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How political parties reacted to women’s suffrage: the Conservative Party

  Conservative governments dominated the twenty years between 1886 and 1906 with a brief Liberal interlude between 1892 and 1895[1]. Between 1886 and 1900, the Conservatives were politically dominant. However, its fragile dominance began to unravel after the 1900 general … Continue reading

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How political parties reacted to women’s suffrage: the Labour Party

  Between 1903 and 1914, no political party in Parliament adopted women’s suffrage as part of its official programme[1]. Within all the major parties there was at least, some support for women’s suffrage though this was counterbalanced by support for … Continue reading

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Suffrage since 1903: Anti-Suffragism

  Organised opposition to women’s suffrage has almost as long a history as women’s suffrage.  A Parliamentary Committee for Maintaining the Integrity of the Franchise was formed in 1875 after the 1875 suffrage bill failed to pass its second reading … Continue reading

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Suffrage since 1903: Militancy and constitutionalism: some sources

  Militancy and constitutionalism? Source 1: Jane Marcus (ed.) The Young Rebecca. Writings of Rebecca West 1911-1917, Virago, 1982, pages 257-8, originally printed in 1933 A new side of her [Mrs Pankhurst] implacability then showed itself. Her policy has meant … Continue reading

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Suffrage since 1903: Political context

  Electoral and constitutional issues 1906-1914: a summary Between 1906 and 1910, the Liberal government did not give high priority to electoral reform[1]. A comprehensive plan for franchise reform does not appear to have been prepared until 1911. This delay … Continue reading

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Suffrage after 1903: Suffragists 3 — Radical suffragism

  The development of modern understanding of the radical suffragists is the result of the publication of Jill Liddington and Jill Norris One Hand Tied Behind Us, first published in 1978 (reprinted with an extended introduction in 2000). They take … Continue reading

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