How Effective Were the Methods of the Wspu in Gaining Women the Vote

1450 Words Nov 1st, 2011 6 Pages
How effective were the methods of the WSPU in their struggle for women’s voting rights

The Women’s Social and Political union was founded by Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, in her family home in Manchester, on the 10th of October 1903. Mrs Pankhurst and her husband Richard were members of the Independent Labour Party and had been since 1893. Emmeline and her eldest daughter Christabel became the leaders of the organization. The WSPU was the most notorious of all the suffrage movements; splitting from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies after becoming disheartened by the groups lack of success in gaining votes for women. The WSPU used militant tactics to try and help gain women the vote adopting the slogan 'Deeds not Words'; the
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Emmeline and Christabel officially resigned from the ILP.

In 1908 Herbert Asquith, replaced Cambell Bannerman as prime minister, Asquith was against women’s suffrage. This change caused the WSPU to intensify their militant methods they broke windows and threw stones. Mrs Fawcett, who had once praised the movement for the advancements it made to the suffrage cause, condemned these violent methods. Causing the WSPU to become further alienated. In 1909 as the arrests for these and such offence increased the WSPU campaigners who were imprisoned began to go on hunger strike, after a few months the prisons began force-feeding the women. This was a very dangerous process involving a 4 ft. long tube being forced down the woman’s throat.

In 1910 the WSPU together with NUWSS persuaded the government to set up a conciliation committee and introduce a bill for women’s suffrage. Mrs Pankhurst called off all militant action, hoping this bill would finally bring an end to the struggle and give women the vote. The bill passed its second reading on the 12th of July, despite some opposition from Liberal Party MPs. The bill however progressed no further, Asquith declared there was no more time to spend on the bill and suspended parliament until November. On the 18th of November the WSPU called off the truce, over 400 women went to the House of Commons to protest. This
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