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Susan Elias

1999 Research

Abstract: Emmeline Parkhurst and the Women's Social and Political Union: Did the Militancy of the W.S.P.U. Help the Movement in Britain?

Mentor: Dr. Martin Seedorf, History

This paper draws attention to the militant suffrage movement which initially began in 1903 with the organization of the formidable Women's Social and Political Union (W.S.P.U.), and soon gained worldwide attention.The indomitable Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst founded the WSPU along with two of her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia. The women within this organization referred themselves as "suffragettes." The subsequent militant tactics of the Women's Social and Political Union that came to be utilized by the women, especially during the period of 1910-1914, in a effort to obtain the vote, had a great impact on those involved and on the world at large. This "militancy" was employed, if for no other reason, to bring to the attention of the people of Britain and the world the women's struggle for the vote. The purpose of this paper is to explore the militant tactics of the suffrage movement and the manner in which the government and other anti-suffragists responded. Thus revealing the particularly violent struggle on both sides of the issue, and drawing attention to this great historical episode in the attempt to explain why these tactics ultimately helped to further the cause in the struggle for votes for women.

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