The documents in this section illustrate the evolving debate surrounding women's suffrage in Britain. All five texts draw connections between women's nature, voting rights, and the political system. As you read, think about the most effective way to compare and contrast the different positions presented.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, newspapers and periodicals emerged as a means of mass persuasion. The spread of literacy and the availability of mass-circulation publications meant that advocates of certain positions could rely on the media to convey their points of view. Women's suffrage gained particular visibility in mass media since it affected individuals, political campaigns, and society as a whole. Moreover, with the onset of militant suffragism, the struggle became part of the public sphere in an unprecedented way. The images below appeared in publications advocating suffrage, in one avowedly opposed to suffrage, and in Punch, which commented on political events and social trends. To understand the images, think about the symbols, the locations and positions of figures, and the use of captions to determine the messages intended.