The Asquith cabinet and woman's suffrage, 1908-1914

Jones, Donald James Joseph. (1972) The Asquith cabinet and woman's suffrage, 1908-1914. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The agitation for Woman’s Suffrage in Britain came into renewed prominence with the advent of the Liberal party to power in 1906. In 1914 with the declaration of war between Britain and Germany the agitation ceased with women still unenfranchised. This thesis deals with the failure of the Liberal government and more particularly the Asquith Cabinet, to solve the issue in the intervening years. -- The Asquith ministry (1908-1916) was divided on the issue and the Prime Minister, in particular, was an avowed opponent of women’s votes. This division in the cabinet resulted in a vacillating policy which failed to satisfy the demands made by the women. The women, in their turn adopted militant actions to publicize their cause reaching a climax in the renowned anti-government militancy of the Woman’s Social and Political Union. The failure of the Cabinet to come to grips with the problem through government legislation, coupled with the tendency of the militant women to resort to yet more militant tactics, led eventually to a situation where compromise became extremely difficult and solution became impossible. -- The thesis opens with a sketch of the political and social background of the period in order to place the problem in its proper perspective. The individual positions of the Cabinet ministers on the question are then dealt with. The greater part of the thesis is an in depth investigation into the role played by the individual ministers when Woman’s Suffrage bills came before the House of Commons. Stress is placed on the growing importance of Woman’s Suffrage as a political problem which eventually threatened the stability of the government. The conclusion is that the Cabinet ministers played an important role in exacerbating the issue through the adoption of negative policies of procrastination.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 7807
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [172]-178.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1972
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Women--Suffrage--Great Britain;

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