Higher History Britain: Womens’ Suffrage Why did women get the vote in Britain in 1918? We are learning to… Explain why women received the vote in 1918 I can… Build up notes on the topic Plan a 20 mark essay Pass a 20 mark timed essay Introduction • In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave women in Britain the right to vote for the first time • These women had to over 30 plus be married, own property or a University graduate • Historians debate the reasons why women were given the vote • It is your job to explain all of the reasons; but also to judge which are more important than others Background (need for intro) • During the 19th century many laws were passed which made Britain more democratic by enfranchising men, but women were never given the right to vote in elections • Most men, including those in government, believed women were uneducated, unworldly, fickle, immature and understood little about the world of politics, economics and business • A woman’s place was believed to be at home in the role of wife and mother; men and women were seen as operating in separate ‘spheres’ or worlds; men in politics and women in motherhood • Women wanted the vote as it gave them a voice nationally and they needed it to force greater change for women in Britain The arguments for women getting the vote ‘The Factors’ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pre war changes (pre 1914) The Suffragists The Suffragettes War Work Foreign Influence You should aim to cover 4 of these in your essay; but you must know all of them in case it is the isolated factor. Pre war changes: Knowledge Even towards the late 19th century things had been improving for women slightly in terms of the law & their opportunities. • In 1882 & 1893 Womens Property Acts gave women full legal control of all property they owned at marriage or that they had inherited or earned whilst married • In the 1870s universal primary education became compulsory for boys and girls • University became more accessible for women with many universities allowing women through their doors for the first time to study degree courses and there were even female colleges, i.e. Girton College at Cambridge • From 1894, women could vote in local elections if they paid taxes and could stand as a candidate for elections • ‘white collar jobs’ involving typing and clerical work in offices and banks opened up and created career opportunities for women who tended to be preferred by employers; many women entered nursing and teaching professions too Pre war changes: Analysis Analysis (basic) • This shows that the status of women in society was improving as they gained more rights, became more educated and participated in local politics and prejudiced attitudes of males were improving towards women • It shows women were proving their competence in many areas and proving that there was nothing to fear by giving women the vote – they were reversing the view that women were too stupid, irresponsible and immature for politics Pre war changes: Analysis Analysis (+) • However, even though women were making some progress they were still expected to leave their jobs when they were married (the marriage bar), women were not awarded degrees by universities and the numbers of women serving on local councils was very small – 24 out of 11,140 • In addition, many middle class women in the late 19th century cared little for womens’ rights and were horrified that women wanted to advance their position in society – even Queen Victoria called women’s rights a ‘mad, wicked folly’ in 1870 A (up to 4/6) and A+ (6/6) A: This shows that… This is important because… A+ On one hand…however on the other hand… Task: write your paragraph on pre war changes (10 min) Success Criteria A topic sentence i.e. ‘ There were pre war changes for women which helped them seem more suitable for the vote. (all) At least two points of knowledge (all) One point of basic analysis (all) One point of Analysis + ‘On the one hand…however on the other hand…(some) The Suffragists: Knowledge • The National Union of Womens’ Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was founded in 1897 under the leadership of Millicent Fawcett and campaigned for womens’ suffrage • They believed in moderate, peaceful tactics or ‘peaceful persuasion to win the vote for middle class women and were nicknamed ‘The Suffragists’ • They used a campaign of meetings, pamphlets, petitions and parliamentary bills which were introduced by sympathetic backbench MPs • Their membership was around 53,000 by 1914 and they reached agreements of mutual support with some male Trade Unions and the new Labour Party Suffragists: Analysis Analysis (basic) • The suffragettes impressed many British people, including thousands of men, and showed that they were intelligent, capable and trustworthy women capable of organising a successful nationwide campaign • The NUWSS were successful in winning the support and respect of many important MPs and future PM David Lloyd George and have been credited with turning the tide in parliament towards women's’ suffrage Suffragists: Analysis Analysis (+) • However, many historians have claimed that the suffragist campaign was tedious and slow moving and was easily ignored by politicians and the suffragists were never able to achieve the publicity of the Suffragettes • In addition, some historians claim that the NUWSS membership was only so high in 1914 because many women had become disillusioned with the Suffragettes during their ‘wild period’ and switched groups Task: write your paragraph on Suffragists(10 min) Success Criteria A topic sentence i.e. ‘ The Suffrgists were also important in achieving the vote for women. (all) At least two points of knowledge (all) One point of basic analysis (all) One point of Analysis + ‘On the one hand…however on the other hand…(some) The Suffragettes: Knowledge • Emmeline Pankhurst was a NUWSS member who became tired of the slow progress and formed the Womens Social and Political Union (WSPU) with her daughters Christabel and Sylvia in 1903 • They had the motto ‘deeds not words’ and wanted to use more militant tactics to breathe new life into the campaign – disrupting meetings, heckling MPs, chalking slogans on streets • In 1905 they made headlines when Sir Edward Grey a government minister was heckled noisily and the two WSPU members responsible were arrested following a struggle and prisoned – the Daily Mail nicknamed them The Suffragettes The Suffragettes: Knowledge • When anti women’s suffrage HH Asquith became Prime Minister in 1908, the Suffragettes entered their ‘wild period’ as a protest • They smashed windows, poured acid into letterboxes, carried out arson attacks, sent letter bombs and security was tightened up across the country i.e. at Holyrood Palace • In 1909, Suffragette Marion Dunlop started a hunger strike campaign in prison designed to embarrass the government if or when a Suffragette died in their care – women were violently force fed by doctors through tubes • In June 1913, Suffragette Emily Davison died after running out in front of the King’s Horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby whilst waving a flag of Green, White & Violet (GWV=Give Women Votes) Suffragettes: Analysis Analysis (basic) • It cannot be denied that the Suffragettes succeeded in their aim of publicity; they regularly made national headlines, were talked about in parliament and were almost unavoidable through their violent methods • The Suffragettes certainly caused much trouble for the government and did force the government to act to try and save face – the Cat and Mouse Act was passed in 1913 to let hunger striking women out of jail temporarily until their health recovered • The lengths the Suffragettes went to gained support and admiration from many people across the country and some people may have believed women should get the vote in order to end the disruptive militant campaign Suffragettes: Analysis Analysis (+) • However, many historians have claimed that the Suffragettes actually held back progress for women because they reinforced the idea that women were irresponsible, immature and unable to cope with responsibility • Many MPs were incensed at the law-breaking campaign of the WSPU and changed their mind about giving women the vote – Lord Robert Cecil said in parliament the Suffragettes had brought disgrace upon women • Some historians argue that the Suffragettes also undermined the progress that the Suffragists had made between 1897 and 1903 and actually caused votes for women to regress due to their bad behaviour Task: write your paragraph on Suffragettes Success Criteria A topic sentence i.e. ‘ The Suffragettes were also important in achieving the vote for women. (all) At least two points of knowledge (all) One point of basic analysis (all) One point of Analysis + ‘On the one hand…however on the other hand…(some) War Work: Knowledge • Two days after war was declared on Germany in August 1914, both suffrage groups announced a suspension of their political campaigns for the duration of the war • The WSPU were given £2000 by the government to stage a march and a propaganda campaign demanding ‘Womens’ Right to Serve’ and help the war effort • The Suffragettes even changed the name of their newspaper from The Suffragette to Britannica and they focussed on patriotism rather than feminism for the duration of the war • Suffragettes also started the ‘white feather’ campaign to encourage recruitment, using them as symbols of cowardice on men who were not in uniform War Work: Analysis Analysis (basic) • Both Suffrage campaigns gained support and respect due their willingness to get behind the war effort and ‘muck in’ rather than potentially sabotaging Britain in the war by continuing their campaign Analysis (+) • However, the Suffragettes were criticised by some for their sudden willingness to cooperate by the government and the pacifist Womens’ Freedom League and some more extreme Suffragettes accused them of betrayal War Work: Knowledge • Women's war work was important to Britain’s ability to fight and win and women stepped into the gaps where around 3million men went to fight • Women worked as conductors on trams & trains, as typists and secretaries and 20,000 women worked in government departments • Over 700,000 women worked in munitions where explosions were commonplace and TNT poisoning caused women to be nicknamed ‘canaries’ (around 400 women died form TNT poisoning during WWI) • By 1917, 25,000 were working on farms with around 23,000 In the ‘Womens’ Land Army’ growing food for those at home and soldiers at war War Work: Analysis Analysis (basic) The work that women did was of major national importance and everyone in Britain was thankful to the nation’s women for the role they had played in winning the war- it was believed Britain couldn’t have won without the women • Historians have put the ‘reward theory’ – that women were given the vote as a reward for their hard work in the war and the 1918 timing of the vote and end of war might support that – the government certainly would have felt the need to do something as the vast majority of women were sacked when men returned from war • There was also ‘The Nation thanks the women’ billboards across the country and newspapers called women ‘heroines’ which could be considered evidence that women were given the vote at the end of the war as a reward and thank you for their efforts • War Work: Analysis Analysis (+) • However, it does seem a strange ‘reward’ because the women given the vote were 30+ whereas the majority of women who did war work were in their 20s so not actually rewarded with the vote • Other historians have said that the reward theory is ‘too simple’ as a lot of the groundwork for women getting the vote was done by the suffrage groups and pre war changes and the war was merely a ‘catalyst’ which served to change the views of politicians who still opposed women’s suffrage • It is certainly true that it would be easier for MPs to award the vote to ‘heroines’ in 1918 than ‘terrorists’ in 1914 so perhaps the war made it more publicly acceptable to give women the vote Foreign Influence • During the 19th century, Britain saw itself as the ‘cradle of democracy’ and one of the most politically advanced societies in the world; Britain’s empire included around 1/3 of the world – colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada • However, more democratic nations around the world had declared women’s suffrage much earlier on. For example, New Zealand granted women’s suffrage in 1893, Finland in 1872 and Norway in 1907. • In addition, the Russian revolution in 1917 saw the autocratic Tsar who denied people democracy ousted in a bloody revolution and killed by the poorer Bolsheviks in Russia, which sent shockwaves and fear of revolution around the world Foreign Influence: Analysis Analysis (basic) • As the most developed nation in the world and a ‘Great Power’ it was embarrassing for Britain that other countries appeared to be overtaking Britain in terms of democracy, particularly when the government argued that WWI was fought to protect democracy in Europe – Britain could not ‘lag behind’ • The fact that women had been enfranchised abroad, particularly in colonies like New Zealand, may have added pressure to politicians and certainly given hope and renewed enthusiasm to the suffrage campaigns – • The fear of revolution was a real one in Britain and middle class Brits were terrified of Communism, it may be the case that the Rent Strikes in Glasgow in 1915 had added to government’s fears that the working class and women would not wait patiently for the vote forever Foreign Influence: Analysis Analysis (+) • However, there exists no evidence to say that foreign influence played any part in the government’s decision to extend the franchise in 1918 and no evidence to say it was even discussed by MPs in parliament • It was likely that between 1914-18 British politicians were far more concerned with the war effort on the Western Front and at home than they were with events in Russia and many historians have downplayed ‘Red Clydeside’ and the importance of the Rent Strikes Consolidation • A good idea when you have taken all your notes for a topic is to create a condensed revision guide for the essay • This might be a mind map, picture map, bullet points etc. but should fit on one page • Do this for homework (example on next page) Essay Questions • Women is an example of an isolated factor essay – this means the SQA will ask you whether women got the vote because of a specific factor (one of the 5 we cover) • You must talk about the factor in the question BUT you do not need to agree it is the most important • Examples To what extent was the extension of the franchise to women in 1918 due to the suffrage movements? How far can it be argued that women received the vote in 1918 due to their war work? ‘The extension of the franchise to women in 1918 was due to the work of the Suffragists’. Discuss. Introduction – 3 step plan • Background (give 2-3 sentences of what life was like for women before the changes you will discuss) ‘During the 19th century…’ • Factors (what are the factors in the essay?) There were many important factors in women receiving the vote such as… (a list is fine) • Argument (what will you be arguing is most important?) It can be argued that the most important factor was …because… Conclusion – 4 step plan • In conclusion, there were many reasons for women receiving the vote in 1918. • On the one hand… (you should take one key factor here and explain why it was important) • On the other hand… (now you should do the same with another key factor to balance your argument) • Overall, the most important factor was… (keep your strongest until last, backing up why it is so important and it should be clear why it outweighs the other factors) Evaluation • A good way to approach trying to get the final 4 marks for evaluation is to take your factors (5 in this case) and rank them from most important to least important • Try to come up with a reason Why each is in that place (not why it is important but why it is more or less important) • A priority diagram can be a good technique to use – try to relate every factor back to your most important War Work Most important because it was a pivotal event of 20th century and proved to everyone in Britain the worth of women and women would need rewarded Suffragists They were the most important suffrage group and gained respect but only from those who listened whereas the war work was noticed by everyone Pre war changes It was through these that women were able to actually form suffrage groups i.e. education but they were less important than war work because changes happened slowly over decade but war work changed women’s position overnight Foreign Influence This was important as it pushed politicians to change but less important than war work as politicians couldn't; ignore the role women played in winning war but could ignore events abroad Suffragettes they damaged the cause of women through law breaking and ‘terrorism’ and undid the good work of suffragists and pre war changes; the war work saved them from being completely hated by all as they supported war effort Evaluation E1 and E2 - 2 marks can be gained from making evaluative comments which relate to individual factors Example – Upon evaluation, women’s war work is the most important factor in getting the vote because WWI was a pivotal event of the 20th century and it finally proved to all Brits that women were useful, needed, responsible and the war would not have been won without them. NB – You must be saying something new in your evaluation, not repeating your analysis or doing ‘mini conclusions’ Evaluation + E+ - up to 4 marks can be gained from making evaluative comments which show the relative importance between factors (i.e. you compare two) Example – Upon evaluation, the suffragettes were less important than womens’ war work because they actually brought disgrace and shame upon women through their law breaking and militancy and they needed the war to save the group’s reputation due to the change in attitude towards them once they supported the war effort. NB – You must be saying something new in your evaluation, not repeating your analysis or doing ‘mini conclusions’ Remember analysis is really tricky and many candidates get 0/4 but still get an A!