Communist essay - hard essay, arguing that militancy, rather than the war, won the vote.
men opposed women's suffrage - in 1875, a Committee for Maintaining
the Integrity of the Franchise had been formed in Parliament.
But many women opposed it too, for many reasons (see Sources C, D,
E, c., the Cartoonists' view
and Why did people oppose Women's
Suffrage). In 1908 the
Women’s National Anti-Suffrage league was formed.
member’s bills were presented every year after 1900.
They were either talked out, or passed to a Committee of the Whole
House, where nothing was decided.
In 1904 MPs talked for hours about tail-lights on cars, so that
there would not be time for the next Bill – on women’s suffrage.
1908, however, most MPs, including most of the Cabinet, openly supported
women’s suffrage. Asquith,
the Prime Minister (who, however, did NOT agree with women’s suffrage)
said that the government would bring a Bill to Parliament. In 1910 and 1911, therefore, Conciliation Bills
(so-called because they only asked for the vote for one million women, so
as not to annoy the opposition) were passed with large majorities.
But the Bills did not become law – they were again passed to a
Committee of the Whole House.
campaign for women’s suffrage got bogged down in politics.
Some MPs opposed the Conciliation Bills because they did not want
ANY women to get the vote. Some
pro-suffrage MPs opposed the Bills because they were too narrow.
Many Liberals opposed the Bills because they thought the 1 million
rich women who would get the vote would vote Conservative.
After 1910, the government was faced by other crises (especially
trouble in Ireland) and many MPs thought there were more important things
to worry about. Many
Irish MPs (there were 100 of them) voted against the Bills because they
wanted more time for the Irish Question.
The Suffragettes’ reaction was to increase the violence (Source F). They burned down churches and bombed Lloyd George’s house. When arrested, they went on Hunger Strike (Source G).
Emily Davison threw herself under the king’s horse and was killed (1913).
If anything, the Suffragettes’ action turned people against Women's Suffrage (e.g. Source H).
cartoon (drawn by a man) stereotypes Suffragettes as bitter old crones
engaged in a gender-war against men.
a third Conciliation Bill was debated in the Commons in
1912, it lost by a
majority of 14 votes. Then,
in 1914, the First World War started, and the women’s leaders promised
to stop campaigning for the vote and to help the war.