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Higher History Womens Suffrage Essay Topics

Extended essay

Using the Sources section to support your extended essay

Over 50 archive sources on this site will help those of you who are thinking of producing an Extended Essay on the theme of the women's suffrage movement in Scotland.

You'll know already that once you've chosen your issue and your title, you need to use a variety of historical sources to support your arguments. You can use the sources on this site to illustrate and strengthen different points that you want to make in your essay.

Remember to think about the origin and purpose of each source, i.e. who wrote or published it, and why? Is the writer known to be pro- or anti-women's suffrage? Is the writer or photographer aiming to influence public opinion about the women's suffrage campaign?

The archive material in the sources section has been organised into the following topic areas:


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The women's suffrage movement

The NUWSS campaigned peacefully - here Mrs Fawcett is addressing a rally

In the nineteenth century women had no place in national politics. They could not stand as candidates for Parliament. They were not even allowed to vote. It was assumed that women did not need the vote because their husbands would take responsibility in political matters. A woman's role was seen to be child-rearing and taking care of the home.

As a result of the industrial revolution many women were in full-time employment, which meant they had opportunities to meet in large organised groups to discuss political and social issues.

Organised campaigns for women's suffrage began to appear in 1866 and from 1888 women could vote in many local council elections. When parliamentary reform was being debated in 1867, John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment that would have given the vote to women on the same terms as men but it was rejected by 194 votes to 73. The campaign gained momentum after this.

Nineteenth century feminists talked about "The Cause". This described a movement for women's rights generally. It had no particular political focus. But by the close of the century the issue of the vote became the focus of women's struggle for equality.

The movement to gain votes for women had two wings, the suffragists and the suffragettes.

The suffragists had their origins in the mid nineteenth century, while the suffragettes came into being in 1903.