Suffrage: Canadian Women and the Vote

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Suffrage: Canadian Women and the Vote


CURRICULA

FOR GRADES 9 TO 12

The following is a lesson plan excerpt from Suffrage: Canadian Women and the Vote, an interactive graphic novel and resource. To see the full lesson plans or to learn more, please visit canadiansuffrage.com.

LESSON 3:

Suffragist versus Suffragette

Canadian suffragists worked toward achieving their goals of suffrage for women by trying to influence the general opinion of the public, primarily politicians. Their efforts were mostly peaceful and always within the boundaries of the law. This was not true of suffragists in Britain and the United States during the same time period. Some American suffragists engaged in acts of civil disobedience; some British suffragists, popularly known as suffragettes, engaged in violent acts as well as protest. Many of these women were arrested and incarcerated.

It is tempting to simply frame Canada as a kinder, gentler, law-abiding nation when trying to explain the difference in the approach of suffragists to getting the vote, but the reality may, in fact, be more complex. Encourage students to look at the suffrage movement(s) in each country and compare some of the following: The level of unity within the movement(s); The extent of racism within the movement(s); The reasons behind the struggle for suffrage; The level of frustration within the movement(s); The reasons different methods were chosen and their effectiveness; The effect of the First World War; The effect of changing suffrage laws in other countries.

SUBJECTS

Citizenship, Global Citizenship, Canadian History, Social Studies, Political Studies

DURATION

3 to 4 classes

KEY VOCABULARY

Franchise: the right to vote

Suffrage: the right to vote in political elections

Suffragist: a person who supports or recommends extending the right to vote, especially to women

KEY CONCEPTS AND ISSUES

Canada had some similarities with other democracies at the time. It was strongly influenced by Britain's legal system and worldview, as well as the politics, economy, attitudes and ideas of its southern neighbor, the United States. Canada, however, was a distinct society shaped by its own unique history and people. Comparing the similarities and differences between the Canadian suffragists approach to winning the vote with those of the United States and Great Britain may help students gain a better understanding and insight into our country and its histor y.

Students will consider these questions: How long did it take for suffrage to be won in Canada? In America? In the United Kingdom? What was the effect of the First World War on suffrage in Canada? America? The United Kingdom? How were suffragists in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States similar or different in their views, approaches, and methods of achieving suffrage? What do these differences reveal about attitudes and culture of these societies?

Students will apply what they have learned as they discuss civil disobedience, and create podcasts or YouTube videos that reveal comparisons between suffragists (and suffragettes) who advocated a variety of approaches to achieving their goals.

EXPECTATIONS/OUTCOMES

Students will:

* Discuss the methods with which Canadian suffragists attempted to get the vote;

* Examine the effect of media on society then and today and the role it played in promoting the suffrage cause;

* Examine the difference and similarities in views, approaches, and methods of achieving suffrage by suffragists in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, including words (letters, posters, petitions, articles, etc.), group protests, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, violent acts;

* Compare how, and when, suffrage was achieved in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States;

* Draw conclusions from these comparisons, such as analyzing what, if any, these differences and similarities reveal about attitudes and cultures of different societies. …

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