Last Updated 13 Apr 2020

Why women failed to gain the vote between 1900 and 1914?

Category Women
Essay type Research
Words 1845 (7 pages)
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The women's suffrage movements were originaly from the United States during the 19th Century. In colonial America, as elsewhere(Austrialia and new zealand] in the world particularly Britain, civil law did not recognize the equality of men and women. some men thought that many women were a waste and can never be good as men. During 1900 and 1914 a woman had no legal rights. A married women's belongings belonged to her husband, this included earnings as well as all her property and goods. in other words she was like a mere object in the mans hands.

To today's standards this is completely outrageous, in today's society women can expect to be treated exactly as the opposite sex when it comes to work and other things. This is abundant in the rise of popularity of woman's football and female boxing. During the 1800, women were expected to be perfect - in those days a perfect lady would be expected to have a pale face, do absolutely no exercise and have very delicate constitution, they where expected to be good hostesses and certainly know their place in society. Women never even received the same level of education as men. ome women nerver even got eduction. They were considered as being too stupid for higher education. However not all women where satisfied with their position in life.

They believed that they were stuck in a vicious circle, which if not impossible, would be very difficult to break out of. The earlier years of the 20th centruary in Britian saw a concerted campaign for the right to vote for women. the women's social and political union, otherwise known as the suffragettes, was founded in 1903 by the Pankhurst family. he campaign for the right to vote for women between 1905 and 1914 became increasingly militant as women were prepared to take direct action, such as distruption of meetings, chaining themselves to railings outside 10 downing street, smashing windows and rioting. at one stage the prime minister,s country house was fire bombed. as a result of this many suffragettes found themselves inside holloway prison where they resorted to hungry strikes. the prison aouthorities responded with forcible feeding.

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There is no simple answer why the suffrage movement failed between 1900 and 1914, instead, a series of long and short term causes. The main point of this essay is to analyze, as well as discuss these reasons in detail. If possible I will put them in order of importance. women where treated very harshly in the 1900 as they were objects in front on mens eyes. when a woman got married all her belongings wer transfered to her husband and they were now the property of the husband. in other words married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law. omen had no property rights, all thier property was thier husbands. all women were robbed off thier self-confidence and self-respect and this made them totalyy dependent on men.

No woman could get eduction since no college or university would accept women students but there were 1 or 2 exceptions. the women wanted the vote becouse they wanted to be equaly nown in public as men. wanted there rights. wanted thier belongings. wanted to be rembered for somethin. wanted to have the right to vote and have a saying in the country. anted people to hear what they have to say about how the country is run. The Suffragists were called the shrieking sisterhood, branded as unfeminine, and accused of immorality and drunkenness. Many citizens and a great deal of newspapers where strongly against 'The National Union Of Women's Suffrage Societies'. Suffragist leaders were often subjected to physical abuse. Suffragist meetings were repeatedly stormed and disrupted by street gangs. On many occasions the speaker at a suffragist meeting would hold a revolver to discourage possible attacks from the audience.

However, it was not only men that were against the suffragist movement, many, if not most upper-class women were against the movement, including Queen Victoria. There were many reasons why anti-suffragists felt this way. The anti-suffragists partly based their assumptions on the difference between the male and female physical abilities; they did not discuss the biological difference because they did not believe it was appropriate for public discussion. Instead, emphasis was put on the 'fragility' of the women claiming that this is what made her 'unsuited' for the vote.

The physical weakness of the female would be potentially dangerous. They argues that assuming she reached the polling place, she might get caught up in a brawl and given the women's natural fragility, she would be the one to get hurt. Beyond these reasons existed the belief that allowing women to vote would jeopardize the nation's security and lead, ultimately, to war. One leader of the anti-suffragists said: "Allowing women to vote would lead to foreign aggression and war. " The second areas of difference between men and women which the anti's argued, was the issue of morality.

A anti who spoke at a hearing in Connecticut on women's suffrage observed that: "The most convincing reason I have heard was the one offered by Miss Pearson. 'We want the ballot, and we want it when we want it. ' This shows the depth of intelligence. " The anti-suffragists also predicted that if women were given the vote disastrous results would occur. The antis believed that political involvement would put them in situations were the male vulnerability would be exploited. However, above all the anti-suffragists were afraid about the emotional state of women.

Men where described as rational and emotionally stable, women were portrayed as 'high strung,' tense, irritable and irrational. One anti said that "when women generally vote and hold office, the desire for publicity and love of the limelight will combine to produce a form of hysteria. " Some took this idea further and argued that since all women suffragists bordered on hysteria there was no need to take their arguments seriously. They said that when women vote, she would let her feelings rather then her intellectual concern be the main reasons for their vote

Some more eccentric people said that allowing women to have the vote would breed a nation of transvestites and that women could hide extra voting slips in their 'voluminous sleeves' The position of certain key political parties was also a huge contributor to why women never got the vote between 1900 and 1914. For if women wanted the vote, ultimately if would have been the MP's that they would have had to convince. Many backbench Liberal MP's were supporters of votes for women, but the Liberal leaders were opposed to it.

This was because they feared that, if only better-off, property owning women got the vote, these women would vote for their arch rival, the Conservative party. On the other hand, some conservative leaders, liking the prospect of more conservative voters, were quite keen on women's suffrage. But they took no action because their backbench MP's were completely opposed, on principle, to change the role of women. In addition, both parties had bigger worries then female suffrage. Neither party was prepared to adopt female suffrage as party policy, so it never got priority in parliament.

In 1903, many suffragists where angry at the lack of success that had come their way, as a result, a lady called Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst founded a new organization, which was called the Women's Social and Political Union or WSPU in short. The Daily Mail called then the 'suffragettes' and with them making so many headlines this name became hard to shake off. The suffragettes had the same goal and ambitions as the suffragists, however, they believed that the only way to reach their goal was to become more radical and militant. The suffragettes disrupted political meeting and repeatedly harassed ministers.

Asquith, who at that time was a Liberal Prime Minister, came under particularly heavy abuse due to his views on women suffrage. they physically assulted politicans, destroyed paintings in the national gallery and in 1913 emily davison threw herself under the king's horse and was killed. there violent tactics may have lots support for the camaign. After a women's suffrage bill ran out of time in 1908, direct action from the suffragettes began. The suffragettes began making speeches at 10 Downing street, they even chained themselves to railing to stop being moved on, in doing so getting themselves arrested.

In that same year stones where thrown thought the windows of 10 Downing street There was however logic behind the violence. The suffragettes believed that the government ignored the calls for women suffrage because there where more important issues. The Suffragettes believed that by becoming more radical and violent the government where forced to listen whether they liked it or not, they believed that processions and petitions, however large, were easily ignored. the goverment di not want to be seen to give in to the violent demandss as this would mak them look weak.

There where mixed reactions to the 'Direct Action' that the Suffragettes employed. Some people where worried, some sympathetic and some were scornful. It was the reaction from the Suffragists that surprised people the most. Many suffragists admired the readiness of suffragettes to go to jail for the cause. When the first suffragette was imprisoned, Mrs. Fawcett put on a banquet for them when they where released. This did not last, for as the Suffragettes got more violent and radical the further apart the two groups got, relationships between then become very strained.

The suffragists believed that you cant win the right for a democratic vote by using undemocratic methods, they also believed that the violence would put of the MP's that would have backed their cause. There is no doubt that the increase in violence alienated the support for woman's suffrage. By 1913 many suffragettes where imprisoned. The violence did however achieve one of its goals, it certainly raised the profile of the issue and it could not longer be ignored. But in doing so they damaged the bigger picture, for know there was a reason for their opponents for rejecting woman's suffrage.

If the MP's gave in to the violence from the suffragettes what hope will they have when dockers or mine workers riot for higher wages? From 1911 onwards, whenever the issue of woman's suffrage was debated in parliament, there was a bigger majority against women's suffrage. In 1914 Britain declared war in Germany, from August to September many different women's organizations were set up, including the Women's Hospital Corp and the Women's Police Volunteers. This meant that all suffragist and suffragette campaigns had to be halted.

I think that the most important reason for why the women suffrage was unsuccessful during 1900 and the 1914 was the fact that, peoples minds at that time where not prepared for such a big advancement, it is true that the suffragettes reduced their chances significantly, but I believe that even if there was no violence the women would have still not got the vote until after the war becouse that is when they really proved themsleves as they helped out greatly in the first world war.

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Why women failed to gain the vote between 1900 and 1914?. (2017, Nov 12). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/women-failed-gain-vote-1900-1914/

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