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Women's Suffrage Societies
Historical perspective: continuing the entry on "women" from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Note that this entry is a product of its time, and should be read in that context. Footnotes have been omitted to make the text easier to follow. Also note that scanning and editing may have introduced a few errors into the transcription. Because of these errors, if you need to use this information in an academic paper, please consult the original, available at many libraries.

This continues the entry under "Women" in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Previous page > Woman Suffrage 1906-1910

The leading women's suffrage societies may here be mentioned. All these societies have advocated precisely the same view, namely that women should have the same electoral privileges as men, whatever franchise system be adopted.

I. The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies is the oldest organization. It began about 1867 as a number of separate local committees, and after various reorganizations a great amalgamation of all local societies was framed in 1896 under the present title. This union had 200 branches in 1910,. All the early suffragists belonged to this body, and in latter years the chief name is that of Mrs Henry Fawcett. The union pursued continuously the constitutional ? policy and stood apart altogether from the militant? societies. Its official organ, The Common Cause, was founded in 1908.

2. The National Women's Social and Political Union, associated chiefly with the name of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and Miss Christabel Pankhurst, formed in 1906, originated the more ? militant? policy. Its income in 1909?1910 reached the figure of £60,000, and up to September 1910 some 500 of its members had undergone imprisonment. It undertook a widespread campaign of meetings, and though at first its speakers were subjected to an opposition of a violent character, there was no doubt that the movement received from its activities a wholly new stimulus. Its official organ, Votes for Women, obtained a large circulation.

Societies of various kinds multiplied. In 1907 were formed (3) the Women's Freedom League (chiefly associated with the name of Mrs C. Despard, a prominent supporter of the Labour party), whose members objected to the internal administration of the Social and Political Union, but agreed in adopting its policy in a modified form; and (4) the Men's League for Women's Suffrage, a society which included men of all parties, and in September 1910 adopted the anti-government election policy. Numerous other party and non-party societies were formed, and resolutions supporting the principle, either in the abstract or as a part of adult suffrage, were passed by various Conservative, Liberal and Labour conferences and associations.

The remarkable prominence of the movement and the fact that successive parliaments contained a majority of pledged suffragists led to the formation of Opposition societies. In 1908 was formed the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League, of men and women, which drew into its ranks prominent persons such as Lord Cromer, Lord Curzon, Lady Jersey and Mrs Humphry Ward; and about the same time the Men's League for Opposing Women's Suffrage came into existence. These two leagues amalgamated in December 1910, as the National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage, with Lord Cromer as president. The Anti-Suffrage Review was founded in 1909.

Next page > Woman Suffrage New Zealand and Australia

More of this article: General | Mosaic Law, Ancient India | Roman Law | Christian Law  | Northern Europe Law | English Law | Husband and Wife | Criminal Law | Education | Professions | Nursing and Medicine | Government and Politics | Women Practicing Law | Women as Clergy | Women's Rights Agitation | Woman Suffrage | Woman Suffrage 1865-1906 | Woman Suffrage 1906-1910 | Woman Suffrage Societies | Woman Suffrage New Zealand and Australia | Woman Suffrage America | Woman Suffrage Europe | Woman Suffrage International | Sources

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Part of a collection of etexts on women's history produced by Jone Johnson Lewis. Editing and formatting © 1999-2003 Jone Johnson Lewis.

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