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Nat 4/5: WSPU

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Humanities Department

on 16 March 2015

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Transcript of Nat 4/5: WSPU

“I was surrounded and forced back on the chair. Whilst I was forced down, a tube was inserted into my nose. It was two yards long with a funnel at the end. The other end is placed in the nostril. The sensation is painful – the drums of my ears seemed to burst and there is a terrible pain in my throat and chest. The tube is pushed down twenty inches. The one holding the funnel end pours the liquid down – about a pint of milk mixed with eggs.
The feelings afterwards are of faintness and great pain. I was sick on the first occasion.”



To begin with, ‘militancy’ meant heckling MP’s, holding demonstrations and causing damage to property.

However, the WSPU became increasingly militant. The years 1912-1914 are often referred to as their ‘wild period’ where they began attacking people as well as property.

Militancy

Date Formed:

Key Figures:

Membership:

Motto:

Aims:

Tactics:



WSPU Fact-File

Temporary Discharge Act (1913)
"Cat & Mouse Act"
How did the WSPU campaign for the vote
Was militancy more effective than peaceful protest?

Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU)

10th October 1903
Emmeline & Christabel Pankhurst
More working class in orientation
'Deeds not words'
Votes for women on equal terms to men
Mary Leigh 1912.
Mary Clarke, Jean Hewart, Katherine Fry were among several Suffragettes who died as a result of force-feeding.

1. How do you think the public would have reacted to these deaths?
2. What problems could these deaths have caused for the government?
Force Feeding
Success of the WSPU?
Emily Wilding Davison
Why did women receive the vote?
The Suffragettes

The 'Wild Period'

Whilst Parliament was discussing the Conciliation Bill the WSPU agreed to suspend all militant activities & joined forces with the NUWSS to hold a grand rally in London on July 23rd 1910.

When it was announced that Parliament had rejected the Bill on Friday 18th November. The WSPU clashed with police in Parliament Square on what became known as 'Black Friday'.

There were 119 arrests in total and the police were particularly heavy handed.
Black Friday was a pre-cursor to the Suffragette wild period which lasted from 1912-14. During the wild period the WSPU increasingly became viewed as a 'terrorist' organisation and the suffragettes viewed as 'demented creatures'.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/959.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/958.html

'...speaking with Christabel Pankhurst is like going to a lunatic asylum and talking to a man who thinks he is God.'
David Lloyd George, Chancellor
Wild Period Tactics
Window Smashing
Arson
Pouring Acid in letterboxes
Many people felt that their tactics were too extreme and harmed the votes for women cause.

However, some have argued that the government was fearful of the WSPU, particularly when war broke out.
The Government gave the WSPU £2000 to stop campaigning when the war broke out.

Many historians have argued that the reason women got the vote in 1918 was because the Government were fearful of the WSPU restarting their campaign.
1. What evidence is there to indicate that the Government were fearful of the WSPU?
2. Who do you think played a more important role in women gaining the vote the WSPU or NUWSS?
Hunger strikes
Slashing paintings in the National Gallery
1. How would these tactics have helped the WSPU gain support?

2. How would these tactics have damaged the votes for women campaign?
Emily Davison & the 'Derby Incident'
Full transcript