The March of the Women: A Revisionist Analysis of the Campaign for Women's Suffrage, 1866-1914

Synopsis

This book is the first comprehensive analysis of the campaign for women's suffrage to appear for over thirty years. It challenges the conventional chronology of the subject by arguing that the Victorian suffragists did not undergo a decline during the 1890s but, on the contrary, hadeffectively won the argument about votes for women by 1900. This view is supported by evidence of the ineffectiveness of Anti-Suffragism, and especially the difficulties it encountered in trying to reconcile female Antis, who were often feminists, with male Antis, who opposed all forms ofemancipation. The author adds a new dimension to the argument by discussing the beneficial impact on the British campaign of women's enfranchisement in New Zealand in 1893, and in Australia in 1902; and he shows how crucial to the shift towards suffragist support in parliament were Conservativemoves in favour of suffragism in the 1890s. The March of the Women also offers a fresh evaluation of the Edwardian militant campaign. At grass roots level divisions over tactics mattered less than among the London leadership, and suffragette groups were less rigidly divided. It places the Pankhursts and the WSPU in a fresh light byexamining their success in raising funds and in tapping the support of the British Establishment, at the same time attacking it and its values; while at the other end of the spectrum non-militants were making an important contribution to the cause by capitalising on working-class and Labour supportfor women's suffrage.

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