Universal Adult Suffrage

In: Historical Events

Submitted By shivamsatyam
Words 16345
Pages 66
The campaign for suffrage - a historical background
Today, all British citizens over the age of eighteen share a fundamental human right: the right to vote and to have a voice in the democratic process. But this right is only the result of a hard fought battle. The suffrage campaigners of the nineteenth and early twentieth century struggled against opposition from both parliament and the general public to eventually gain the vote for the entire British population in 1928.
Who took part in the campaign?
The first women's suffrage bill came before parliament in 1870. Soon after its defeat, in 1897, various local and national suffrage organisations came together under the banner of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) specifically to campaign for the vote for women on the same terms 'it is or may be granted to men'. The NUWSS was constitutional in its approach, preferring to lobby parliament with petitions and hold public meetings.
In contrast, the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), formed in 1903, took a more militant view. Almost immediately, it characterised its campaign with violent and disruptive actions and events.
Together, these two organisations dominated the campaign for women's suffrage and were run by key figures such as the Pankhurstsand Millicent Fawcett. However, there were other organisations prominent in the campaign, including the Women's Freedom League (WFL). These groups were often splinter groups of the two main organisations.
What did they campaign for?
Before the first of a series of suffrage reforms in 1832, only 3% of the adult male population were qualified to vote. For the most part, the right to vote depended on how much you earned and the value of your property. For this reason, the majority of people who…...

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