Suffragists Methods

This sample of an academic paper on Suffragists Methods reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.

The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) campaigned for Women’s rights using peaceful methods. Its leader was Lydia Becker until she died in 1980. The leadership then fell to Millicent Garrett Fawcett. The NUWSS was given the nickname ‘Suffragists’ by the Daily mail. The Suffragists used, peaceful methods to try and achieve their goal of the vote for Women.

These methods included: Petitions – massively signed petitions presented to the parliament. The petition in 1874 was the biggest of them all

Leaflets/Posters – leaflets and posters were the most popular campaign methods for the Suffragists. They were made and distributed among everyone and often showed how badly women were treated and then later on how bad the Suffragettes methods were. Peaceful Protests – Lots of protests and marches were held all over England. Lots of these often included Suffragette as well as Suffragists but normally remained peaceful.

A march in 1908 which went through central London and ended at the Royal Albert Hall consisted of over thirteen thousand women.

Organised Meetings – these were held where possible and contained lot of lectures and talks on votes for women and campaigning techniques. The Suffragists main idea was to campaign within the law. This was done to show how rational these women were. They wanted to let the government and public know that these women were very respectable and could be entirely trusted with the vote.

Get quality help now
Sweet V

Proficient in: Feminism

4.9 (984)

“ Ok, let me say I’m extremely satisfy with the result while it was a last minute thing. I really enjoy the effort put in. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

They that their good behaviour could impress the government and that after a long, slow but steady struggle they would finally be able to get the vote they wanted.

Suffragists Vs Suffragettes

The work of the NUWSS continued throughout the early years of the twentieth century. Some women, however, became dissatisfied with peaceful methods and thought that the only way to get votes for women was by using more aggressive methods. These women formed the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU, also known as the Suffragettes). Most of the Suffragists were not opposed to the methods of the Suffragettes but they simply thought that they would not work. The most important figure in the creation of the WSPU was Dr Richard Prankhurst.

He was a firm supporter of votes for Women and had stood as candidate for the Independent Labour Party in the 1895 general election. He was defeated but continued his campaign until he died. His wife Emmeline Prankhurst then took over. Her daughters Sylvia and Christabel also played a part in campaigning for votes for Women. The WSPU had originally been set up in Manchester, but then in 1906 they made a very important decision, to move to London. It was a very brave decision as it would almost certainly lead to greater expenses. The WSPU’s campaigning tactics included:

Heckling – continuous asking of embarrassing or unanswerable questions even when the MP tries to talk to others or changes the subject. The person only stops asking when the MP has given a suitable enough response. Disrupting Meetings – loud and rude behaviour during importing meetings causing it to stop until the person is removed. Chaining to rails – only done in particular places such as outside 10 Downing Street, where they can get the most attention. Stone Throwing – adopted by Edith New which included using weapons such as stone throwing.

Hunger Strikes – Women would go on hunger strikes, mainly while in prison to get lots of attention and to get what they want. All of these were tactics that would get the person fined and/or thrown in prison. This would get that person a lot of attention and get the Suffragettes struggle for women’s rights into the public eye. Further campaigning would let it stay in the public eye. As time progressed the tactics employed by Suffragettes became more violent. Stones were thrown at government windows and public, private property and paintings was also damaged.

The government didn’t listen to the Suffragettes which frustrated them even more causing them to employ even more violent tactics. As you can see here the method of the Suffragists and Suffragettes were very different. The Suffragists tactics were obviously much more peaceful and law abiding. They knew that going on like this would take a long time but they were prepared to wait. On the other hand, the Suffragettes could not wait and took on the more aggressive and violent tactics which they thought would give them immediate franchisement.

Without the groundwork of the Suffragists, the campaign for Votes for Women would have been much weaker. The Suffragists were a much bigger group. From their title you can see why. They were a union of different suffrage societies across the UK. The Suffragists had a very large number of members and generally the group were very open about what they did. Any major events they were going to do or take part in would be known by the media and public. As this was the main group of suffrage societies they were very tolerant of different methods. They were also tolerant of the violent methods of the WSPU until 1912.

The WSPU lost the support of the NUWSS. They said that the WSPU’s campaigning was going out of hand and that their behaviour was giving women a bad reputation, making it harder for them to get the vote. The Suffragettes were a much smaller group. Because of their violent tactic this group always had a lot of publicity, keeping them in the public’s eye. Nearly all of the tactics carried out by the Suffragettes, especially the later one were illegal. This meant that all of their planning and meetings had to be done secretly, unlike the openness of the Suffragists.

This meant that groups across the UK would not know what other groups would be doing. The actions of the Suffragettes were very similar to terrorists. There was a dictatorship between Emmeline and Chrystabel Prankhurst. Anything they told the other to do, they had to do. Emmeline’s other daughter; Sylvia was kicked out of the Suffragettes as she ‘helped’ the workers in London to much. The Prankhursts had turned on their own family. The Suffragists were continuously increasing in support and growing. The group never deviated from their purpose, they never strayed, and they were always intent on getting the Vote for Women.

On the other hand the Suffragettes started losing support and became fragile. There were always arguments within the group about how far they had been and how far they were planning to go. As time went on, the tyrant leadership grew in dislike. Any questioning about the activities in the group would get you get kicked out, as did Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Elizabeth Robins. These are the differences in which the two major organisations are run and lead and the difference in which the activities they undertake differ from one another.

Cite this page

Suffragists Methods. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7