Do you agree with the view that Party Politics was the main reason that the suffrage campaign failed 1860-1914 Sources: I (pg.49), J (article)
Despite many years of campaigning, by 1914 the suffrage women had not achieved the vote. There were many things holding back suffrage progression from 1860-1914 and came most significantly in the form of the Prime Minister W.E Gladstone. But how much party politics had to do with the liberals position against suffrage is not a certainty. The liberals saw giving women the vote as a threat to their future power. As the law would mean that since the 1870 women could own their own property, these women would likely to be wealthy and therefore more inclined to vote for the Liberal’s main threat, the party that supported the rich more, the Conservatives. This meant that Prime Minister Gladstone did everything he could to stay away from female suffrage and stall the issue. Source I, is a letter from Gladstone to one of his MPs about why he was not actively supporting women’s suffrage. He explains his views of still believing in separate spheres and his worries about the impact it would have on families. However at the end of the letter he mentions that he is not completely against the idea of a female vote but he is not yet convinced by it. Because it is a private letter, there is reason to believe that Gladstone would be entirely truthful, and felt like he needed to explain his reasoning behind his anti-suffragism, however this might not necessarily be the case as Gladstone may not want party politics his reason to not give the vote as this would cause an outrage. This is cross referenced by source J which says that women were consistently more supportive of the Conservatives. The provence of his last statement of taking “no step in advance” may well be a politically correct way of saying that it will be a very long time until he will support the vote for women. However the View of Gladstone might not necessarily be the...
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