Module 02: Should Women Vote? The Politics of Suffrage
Take the interactive quiz to check your comprehension of key themes and details from the module. The quiz will assist you in your preparation for class discussion, exams, and writing assignments. You can choose to email the results to your instructor.
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Suggested Writing Assignments and Classroom Discussion
Summarize the arguments employed by supporters of women's right to vote. Using specific examples from the Evidence section, identify the ways in which proponents sought to convince the public that granting suffrage would both recognize the rights of women and lead to improvements in public life.
Compare and contrast how proponents and opponents of women's suffrage made their cases to the British public. Choose six cartoons from the Evidence section (2 pro-suffrage, 2 anti-suffrage, and 2 commentaries on the suffrage campaign) that allow you to analyze the symbols, language, and positions involved in the campaign. Which approaches do you think would have been most persuasive to audiences in the early 1900s, and why?
In her 1913 statement, "Why We Are Militant," Emmeline Pankhurst made the following case for women's suffrage: "People have said that women could never vote, never share in the government, because government rests upon force. We have that this is not true. Government rests not upon force; government rests upon the consent of the governed; and the weakest woman, the very poorest woman, if she withholds her consent cannot be governed. . . .We ask you to show that although, perhaps, you may not mean to fight as we do, yet you understand the meaning of our fight; that you realise we are women fighting for a great idea; that we wish the betterment of the human race, and that we believe this betterment is coming through the emancipation and uplifting of women." Which specific elements of the suffrage campaign were intended to demonstrate that women's right to vote would lead to the "betterment of the human race?" To what extent has European and world history of the twentieth century confirmed the perspective of those advocating women's suffrage?