The Militant Methods Of The Suffragette Protesters Were Unsuccessful In Gaining Support For Votes For Women Before 1914 Essay example

Submitted By Callum-Brennan-Osmen
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‘The militant methods of the Suffragette protesters were unsuccessful in gaining support for votes for women before 1914’ How far do you agree? Explain answer using your own knowledge, sources D, F and G and any other sources that you find useful. It’s standing as an issue is one that is heavily contemplated, as the reason for support gains is to be gleamed from those that in actuality gave them the support. The question of support gained by militant is one that can be heavily deliberated over. On the one hand many were inspired by the hard-working independent women who fought for what they believed in, and thus gave them their support. Whereas others were grievously offended by such barbaric methods as breaking widows and disrupting government meeting, causing quite a divide of opinions between the people of England.

In the first instance (referring to disagreement with the statement) it is first important to consider that we are not discussing the end results achieved by the, agreeably more violent, suffragette movement, but the immense support and following that was gained throughout their brief existence. Despite some of its less agreeable methods for putting their message out they were undeniably noticed and acknowledged by a wide audience, and this was after all the point. The suffragettes wanted to be noticed by not just the general public, but namely the government. This was namely achieved through protests, some more violently inclined than others. You could expect to see such actions as Emmeline Pankhurst’s in 1904, when she disrupted a Liberal Party meeting in Manchester, or when Two suffragettes chained themselves to the railings at 10 Downing Street in 1908 or even in 1913 when Golf Greens were attacked with acid (as it was primarily a men’s sport), Post Boxes and empty buildings were set on fire and defaced. Source E retells such an extraordinary event, that occurred in June of 1913. The source is taken from a 'The Times' newspaper, which was well known for being relatively right-wing and anti-suffragette, suggesting potential bias. The account tells us the story of Emily Wilding Davison, who was killed when attempting to put a rosary on a horse mid-game. The horse and jockey were knocked down but both made full recoveries, and this seems to be the main focus of the Times article. The words 'mad notion', 'desperate' and 'wicked' quite perfectly sum up the spin put upon the events by the Times, as well as the statement, 'Behaviour of this kind will hardly increase the popularity of the suffragette cause with the public'. This shows how many viewed the propaganda of the Suffrage fighters due to it being a source of mainstream media, however it hardly sums the entire country's opinion as it has potential to be heavily biased.
In Source F we see the funeral procession for the aforementioned Emily Wilding Davison on the 14th June 1913, not at all that long after the actual event. The Suffragettes were using the death of Davison to give their cause movement and notice, a martyr like Davison was perfect for sympathy; it drew everyone's attention. The scheme clearly worked as there is a large crowd of people lined up to see the funeral procession, and the suffragette cause was certainly going anything but unnoticed; so much so we can see policemen in attendance. The funeral procession does seem to look more like some form of peaceful protest or march, with many carrying banners and all dressed in a white uniform. We can see a large number in this march however, suggesting that many methods previously employed have in fact had a positive bolstering effect on the number of supporters.
Source G is from an account given by Millicent Fawcett in 1908, who was in fact a suffragist and not a suffragette. Her movement discerned themselves from the Suffragettes by using more peaceful methods to get their views across. She states how she feels that the militant actions performed by the more violent suffragettes are hated…