What were the experiences and perceptions?

Moderation or direct action?

Throughout the struggle for votes for women there were tensions and disagreements between 'suffragists'  who believed in moderation and peaceful methods and 'suffragettes'  who believed in direct action, sometimes resorting to violent tactics. The suffragettes have been given credit for the eventual success of the campaign. On the other hand many people at the time and many historians since believed that direct action was actually harmful and not beneficial to the cause.


Lousia Garrett Anderson (1873-1943) was daughter of her famous mother Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. In the First World War she served with the Women's Hospital Corps. Louisa and her mother symbolized the conflict between moderation and direct action. Elizabeth was a moderate who distanced herself from the WSPU. Louisa, however, was an activist who was imprisoned in 1912 for obstructing the police.