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Role of Suffragettes in Britain


This research paper discusses the role of the suffragettes in the movement to enfranchise women in Great Britain. The suffragettes were members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which was founded in 1903 and which during the decade preceding the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 engaged in more militant tactics which distinguished them from most other women suffragists. Many of the activities of the suffragettes evoked public controversy and produced some of the most colorful events on the Edwardian scene in Britain. Even today, passions have not entirely cooled which is evident in the exaggerated claims and assertions made by partisans on both sides. The sort of radical action necessary to accomplish a major social change of this sort is often misunderstood and misrepresented in its own time by enemies and critics, and the false perceptions so created may persist even after the social movement involved has succeeded. There were numerous criticisms level at the suffragettes in their own time, and many British history books continue to paint the movement as ineffectual and futile even after women's suffrage has been adopted and has become an accepted commonplace. The resulting historical bias in the writing of historical textbooks continues to distort the truth.

The ultimate granting of the vote to most adult women, which occurred in 1918, was not the product of World War I but rather the result of a long chain of events, beginning with largely middle-class liberal and radical efforts to change the role of women in Victorian society, the slow success of middle class and burgeoning working class suffragists to win support in Parliament for the enfranchisement of women on the same terms as men during the 1890s and early 1900s, the sympathy and publicity gained for the cause by the flamboyant and defiant tactics of the suffragettes prior to 1912, th...

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Role of Suffragettes in Britain. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:15, February 22, 2017, from