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The First World War And Women's Suffrage In Britain

1733 words - 7 pages

A. Plan of Investigation
B. Summary of Evidence
C. Evaluation of Sources
D. Analysis
Works Cited

A. Plan of Investigation

The 19th century was an important phase for feminism in Britain. The suffrage movement began as a struggle to achieve equal rights for women in 1872. Women then became active in their quest for political recognition, which they finally obtained in 1928.

This investigation assesses the question: To what extent did the First World War lead to the accomplishment of the women’s suffrage movement of Britain in 1928?
Two of the sources used in the essay, The Women’s Suffrage: a short history of a great Movement by Millicent Garrett Fawcett, and The cause: a short history of the women's movement in Great Britain By Ray Strachey, are evaluated for their origin, purpose, value and limitations. This investigation will consider the role of women before, during, and after the war.

B. Summary of Evidence

The Women’s national movement, in the United Kingdom began in 1792, in response to female oppression and lack of rights. (Strachey, 12) The female society had narrow and futile lives, (Fawcett, 13) women had no place in national politics, and they were absolute to men and had no real standing of their own. (Fawcett, 15) Their justification of existence was to be wives, child bearers, and daughters of men. (Strachey, 16) For example, in 1832 the word ‘male’ was introduced instead of ‘person’ in the Reform act, showing the discrimination of females in the society. (Rover, 84)

Women faced a bitter reality, thus sought ‘Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” as claimed by Mary Wollstonecraft, whose book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, expresses the feminist ideal and claim for human rights, that created an awakening of conscience from the oppression.

Discontent and dissatisfaction began to grow amongst the women as a result of the ‘awakening.’ Resulting in riots and the Chartist Movement of 1838, (Fawcett, 31) were the Charter was presented with a bill of rights, and liberties, that specially focused on the women’s suffrage. However, members believed the bill threatened the suffrage of men, and it was denied. () The Chartist movement wasn’t a complete failure; it had created the incentive of a feminist idea, outside the British parliament. Many organizations began to be formed, such as the Anti-Corn Law League, (Fawcett, 32) to encourage women to involve in work. However up to the 1850’s, outside of the organizations, women still had no societal role, the movement was scattered and fragmentary. (Fawcett, 64)

From the late 1850’s onwards the women’s suffrage movement took on a new era, with a growing crowd of followers, and two main movements the Radicals and the philanthropists of the fifties and sixties. () Both which were attributed to statesmen and philosophers: John bright, Richard Cobden and John Stuart Mill. One of the most important radicals was John Stuart Mill, whose aim was to create a...

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