What Kinds Of Illegal Methods Of Campaigning Did The Suffragettes Use?


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Richard Marsden answered
Tax evasion and census resistance was a popular tactic that started in 1870. The Women's Freedom League, led by Charlotte Despard, adopted a similar policy and described it as constitutional militancy. A number of wealthy suffragists lost property and faced heavy fines but deemed it worthwhile. They felt the census was linked with citizenship and, therefore, they said if they could not vote they would have nothing to do with the census. The Woman's Freedom League organised a boycott of the census in 1911. This was endorsed by the WSPU and the NUWSS.

Another popular tactic was window smashing. This was impromptu and borne out of frustration rather than a coherent political strategy. It was first used as a response to the treatment of women outside the House of Commons in 1908. It was used again when Emmeline Pankhurst and a group of elderly suffragettes were evicted from the House. Window smashing became retrospectively approved and then official policy.

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