Women's Suffrage, Hinder or Help?

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Do you agree with the view that the First World War hindered, rather than helped, the cause of female suffrage? In the sources presented there are conflicting views as to whether the First World War helped or hindered the cause of female suffrage. There were many people who argued that because women had worked so relentlessly during the war, it would be impossible to deny them the vote, especially due to the fact that working class men got the vote that were on the frontlines. Source 5, a letter from Lord Selborne to Lord Salisbury argues this point, and claims that it would not only be unjust to the women; it would also be “dangerous to State”, as it would be a gross corruption of morality and standards, because of the “the steadying influence of the women voters n essentials and the long run”. I think that this point is very important because not only does it question the government’s policies on female suffrage as a whole, it also questions its entire idea of democracy, standards and beliefs – how could you give the fighting man the vote, if you were not prepared to give the tireless, hard working woman who was at the home front, and without whom the war could not possibly have been won. Herbert Asquith, a former opponent of suffrage also agrees in source 4 that it would be impossible to deny women the right to vote. As well as being dangerous, Lord Selborne also pointed out that it would be unjust- why should women put them self out so far if they are just going to be overlooked and have their interests ignored? It is important to realize that Source 5 comes from a letter between two conservative Lords, at the time when women had not yet been enfranchised. The conservatives were generally for female suffrage, however in the past they had never really done anything major to fight for it. It is therefore interesting that despite the fact that the security of the nation was at stake, the First World War still managed to bring female suffrage to the forefront...
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