Progressive ideas and movements Defining Moments, 1750–1918
Investigation 5: Chartism
5.4 1894 Women’s vote (South Australia)
A modern understanding of democracy is that all adult citizens have the right to vote. In this way all citizens are equally represented by their local members of parliament.
This was not the understanding of the nineteenth century. The right to vote had to progress through stages: from the belief that only those adult males with a certain value of property could vote, through to all adult males having the vote (manhood suffrage), to all adult women having the vote (female suffrage), and finally to all adults regardless of their race having the vote (universal suffrage).
How was the stage of female suffrage achieved in Australia?
Read the information about the achievement of universal suffrage for the first time in the Defining Moment in Australian history: 1894 Legislation introducing women’s suffrage, South Australia. Use that information to answer these questions.
Look back at the Key Questions. Which of these questions do you think you can now answer fully? Which need more research?