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This comprehensive summary of suffrage history in Britain is a model of clarity and concision. An essential aid for teacher, student and researcher.
Dr Sandra Holton, Trinity College, Dublin
The Womens Suffrage Movement was a phenomenon unparalleled in British history. It was the largest womens movement the country had ever seen, and it succeeded both in gaining equal voting rights for women and in securing their right to be elected to the House of Commons.
But beneath the surface of a movement for change in franchise policy, reformers and their opponents alike were fighting a broader ideological battle that seemed to threaten the very roots of Victorian Britain.
In this revised second edition of his widely acclaimed text, Harold L. Smith:
· Traces the suffrage campaign from its origins in the 1860s through to the achievement of equal suffrage in 1928
· Considers the wider political context of the movement
· Provides an up-to-date synthesis of the most recent scholarship
· Presents new evidence on the backstage collaboration between Conservative women and the NUSEC in the 1920s
Ultimately, Smith argues, it was not militancy but political manoeuvring that brought about equal franchise rights for women but the larger goal of redefining gender structures was much more difficult to attain.
Harold L. Smith is Professor of History at the University of Houston-Victoria, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain. His previous books include: (with Judith N. McArthur) Minnie Fisher Cunningham: A Suffragists Life in Politics (2003); Britain in the Second World War: A Social History (1996) and British Feminism in the Twentieth Century (1990).