“The Claim of Englishwomen to the Suffrage Constitutionally Considered”. By
Helen Taylor. 1867
This is an article published in the “Westminster Review” in 1867.
Cultural and historical background:
It dates back to 1867, Victorian period (1837-1901), which corresponds with the reign of Queen Victoria. This was an extremely exciting period, sometimes called “the second British Renaissance”. It was published after the amendment to the Bill presented by John Stuart Mill, backed up by 1500 signatures, including some of the most remarkable women at that time. His petition for women’s suffrage was rejected.
Helen Taylor was born in 1831. Her mother, Harriet Taylor, was particularly politically active, supporting women’s rights. As John Stuart Mill’s step-daughter, Helen helped him with his books and articles after her mother’s death. In 1865 Mill got a seat in the House of Commons and presented a petition in favour of women having the right to vote in 1866. His petition was defeated. In 1967 she published this article and she was a founding member of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage.
I think that this article was thought to act as a support document for the incipient women’s suffrage movement. She was preparing the ground for a more formal petition, as though Mill’s petition containing around 1500 signatures was turned down. She was echoing the women petition while societies demanding women’s vote were flourishing all around the country. I think this was intended to be a declaration calling for the women right to vote.
Miss Taylor first published it as an anonymous article in the “Westminster Review” in January 1867 and it was reprinted afterwards. She based her position on the idea that since women were fully allowed by English law to hold all kinds of properties, so they should to vote in the election of the Parliament representatives: “This...
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