Margaret Thorp was born in Liverpool, England in 1892. She stayed in England until 1911 at the age of 19, when both her parents and Margaret immigrated over. Margaret Thorp and her parents were Quakers, which was the stance that all war is morally wrong. This philosophy was an instrumental factor to her activities within Brisbane (Summy 2006).
In early November 1915 Thorp gave out a lecture in front of the Workers Political Association and the Trades Hall entitled "The Menace of Militarism". This lecture spoke about the antagonism of militarism to true democracy, from a Quakers perspective (Summy 2006).
Her ideas about the role of women subscribed to the notion of biologically determined gender roles. Thorp, and other women of the feminist movement of the time, felt that women were instinctive nurturers and that men were naturally violent and destructive. This viewpoint shaped her ideology, it was the responsibility of women to lead the charge against militarism (Summy 2006).
A member of the Anti-conscription league, she challenged Prime Minister Hughes at an address in Brisbane. Hughes praised the "Unanimous support of the Australian population, particularly the Queensland women, for compulsory military training". It was in this moment that Thorp challenged the Prime Minister by informing him that a "...large numbers of Queensland women were utterly opposed to his scheme to force men overseas in order to kill the enemy" (Summy 2006).