In her work entitled The Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada, Catherine Lyle Cleverdon artfully constructs narrative analysis of a social movement that gained little notoriety outside of Canada. This particular study is extremely helpful because of its ability to use existing information about the suffrage movement in Canada and build upon those facts in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the social development itself. While the suffrage movement in Canada was not nearly as dramatic or notable as the corresponding movement in England, the author does a thorough job of explicating the social merits of both movements and why both were crucial to the unfolding of Canadian history specifically. In contrast, Carol Lee Bacchi takes a different approach with her book Liberation Deferred? The Ideas of the English-Canadian Suffragists, 1877-1918, as she seems concerned with reinforcing the idea that the female suffragists did not necessarily fail to induce a social revolution, but rather those individuals in support of this movement never truly had a revolution in mind, but rather a gradual and progressive reform of a system that did not recognize its Canadian women as citizens. Bacchi implies that woman's suffrage was not violent and highly-publicized event that demanded immediate change, but instead was the result of continuous pressure of Canadian women striving for social change. This supposition actually aligns somewhat with Cleverdon's thesis regarding the non-violence of the suffrage movement in Canada compared to the progress of its counterparts in the United States and England. Despite the vague similarity between both texts, Cleverdon invokes a kind of narrative with her work and relies upon characterization to convey a level of passion that maintains the interest of the reader, while Bacchi does not, and instead relies almost entirely on objective fact to explicate the evolution of woman suffrage in Canada.
[...] Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism. (New York and London: Verso; rev. ed., 1991), pp. 1-36, 61-65. Bacchi, C.L. (1982). Liberation Deferred? The Ideas of the English- Canadian Suffragists, 1877-1918. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Cleverdon, C.L. (1975) The Woman [...]
[...] While Cleverdon was able to infuse some level of passion into her work through the animation of her characters, Bacchi is unable to inspire the same level of enthusiasm regarding the importance of this social movement for the betterment of Canadian history. Yet it could also be argued that each text serves a specific purpose, as Bacchi's text provides the reader with objective historical facts unencumbered by any authorial embellishment or mediation, while Cleverdon's creative characterizations create an exciting text that is much more accessible to a new student hoping to familiarize him or herself with the importance of suffrage to the advancement of women's rights in Canada . References Anderson, B. (1991). [...]
[...] If she is concerned primary with the political aspects of the struggle, it appears that the battle consisted mainly of such maneuvers. The organized feminist never comprised so large and representative a group, nor were they deployed so effectively over the terrain by able tacticians as in this country and in England” (Young 161). Thus Cleverdon paints a slightly different picture of the suffrage movement in Canada and goes to great lengths to clarify that the movement itself was like any other form of social progress; the product of both pressure, time and continuous persistence. [...]
[...] Thus Cleverdon's book can be regarded as an attempt to remind even the average Canadian reader that there was a great deal of struggle involved in the construction of rights and freedoms that many of us now take for granted on a daily basis in Canada. While many critics seem to argue that Cleverdon's book offers specific historical details that can only be understood in the context of a thorough understanding of Canadian history, it would seem as though this story of political struggle would be a valuable asset for anyone attempting to gain a more progressive understanding of women's studies in relation to the development of Canadian history. [...]
[...] While Cleverdon goes to great lengths to demonstrate the humanity inherent in the development of women's suffrage in Canada, she is clear about the fact that Canada's transition was decidedly understated and almost peaceful in comparison to the England: In contrast with England, no violence occurred at any time in the woman suffrage movement in Canada, and in contrast with the United States, it was almost lethargic. This is explained, in part, by the attitude of mind which would let Canadians follow in the wake of successful ventures elsewhere. [...]
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