'Woman's mission': the temperance and women's suffrage movements in Scotland, c.1870-1914

Smitley, Megan K. (2002) 'Woman's mission': the temperance and women's suffrage movements in Scotland, c.1870-1914. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2089197


This thesis discusses the connections that bound together the late-nineteenth-century women’s temperance and suffrage movements in Scotland. The importance of women’s temperance reform in the women’s movement has been discussed in other Anglophone contexts, however there has been little scholarly analysis of these links in British historiography. This study aims to fill some of this gap. Moreover, by focusing on the Scottish case, this investigation adds a more ‘Britannic’ perspective to discussions of Victorian and Edwardian feminism, and thereby reveals regional variation and diversity.

My exploration of the women’s suffrage movement focuses on constitutional societies, and offers a fresh perspective to balance the concentration on militancy in the only major monograph on Scottish suffragism – Leah Leneman’s A Guid Cause: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Scotland. This analysis takes a flexible approach to constitutionalism and argues that the women’s single-sex temperance society, the Scottish Christian Union (SCU) was an element of constitutional suffragism. Likewise, the Scottish Women’s Liberal Federation – peripheral to the historiography of British suffragism – is given a prominent place as a constitutionalist organisation.

This study uses women’s roles in social reform and suffragism to examine the public lives of middle-class women. The ideology of ‘separate spheres’ is a leitmotif of much of women’s history, and discussions of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres are often linked to social class. My discussion of a ‘feminine public sphere’ is designed to reveal the ways in which women negotiated Victorian gender roles in order to participate in the civic life that was intrinsic to an urban middle-class identity. Thus, this thesis seeks to place suffragism and temperature in the context of middle-class women’s public world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-1488
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:41
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1488

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