Article abstract: Through the use of civil disobedience and militant obstructionism, the WSPU introduced the issue of women’s political rights into the mainstream of pre-World War I British politics.
Summary of Event
There are few examples of women being treated as equal to men in the history of humankind prior to the mid-nineteenth century. Inequality was the result of religious teachings, prejudice, and law. Women systematically were denied, solely on the basis of their gender, educational opportunity, meaningful employment, the right to vote, basic human rights, and a legal identity. This slowly began to change in Western societies as the result of the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment (during the eighteenth century) and as the result of the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution (in the nineteenth century).
Great Britain was the first nation to experience an industrial revolution. Economic development led to demands by the emerging middle class for political change. The Reform Bill of 1832 extended suffrage to most middle-class males. Within one generation, the Liberal Party emerged, representing the middle class and heir to the Enlightenment ideas of the rights of man. Reform bills in 1867 and 1884 extended the right to vote to most adult males in Britain. Social legislation provided for a basic public education, improved factory conditions, and solutions to some of the social ills caused by...
(The entire section is 2218 words.)
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