emphases were crucial. British and American women alike sought the vote as a right and because of their distinctive qualities, roles, and interests as women in politics. They sought the vote because they felt they were fit for it and would use it not only for their own benefit but also to improve the world at large. They contended that suffragism was a cause whose time had come; that the vote was desired by ever increasing numbers of women; that suffragists were not motivated by hatred of men; and that votes for women would not destroy the sanctity of home and family.
Common challenges and problems confronted American and British suffragettes. The militant campaigns of both countries relied heavily on the actions and appearances of a few ruthless and nationally known individuals, notably Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst in Britain, and Alice Paul and Alva Belmont in the United States. Yet in both countries these leaders had to take account of local circumstances and of the thousands of lesser-known workers who kept their campaigns going. On each side of the Atlantic, the suffragettes found it difficult to consolidate their early appeal to working-class women, though that appeal was sustained longer in Britain. There, radical suffragists sought to make common cause with the labor movement, emphasizing that women's enfranchisement would only arrive as part of an adult suffrage measure that gave the ballot to the substantial number of men who remained voteless before 1918. Militancy frequently came to be regarded by working women as an indulgence that only their elite sisters could afford, just as the “antis” alleged. While the Pankhursts were careful to stress the wide social appeal of their crusade, they were unable to change the image of the suffragettes as members of a small and privileged cadre, an image quickly acquired by militancy's shock troops in the United States.
Still, for all their differences, this transatlantic collaboration had benefited both groups in their struggle for the ballot. As the Pankhursts— mother and daughters—proudly proclaimed, their militant exploits have not been forgotten on either side of the Atlantic. 25
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Publication information: Book title: Votes for Women:The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited. Contributors: Jean H. Baker - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 156.
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