How effective were the methods of the WSPU in their struggle for women’s voting rights
The Women’s Social and Political union was founded by Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, in her family home in Manchester, on the 10th of October 1903. Mrs Pankhurst and her husband Richard were members of the Independent Labour Party and had been since 1893. Emmeline and her eldest daughter Christabel became the leaders of the organization. The WSPU was the most notorious of all the suffrage movements; splitting from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies after becoming disheartened by the groups lack of success in gaining votes for women. The WSPU used militant tactics to try and help gain women the vote adopting the slogan 'Deeds not Words'; the NUWSS tried more constitutional peaceful methods in their fight for suffrage. The NUWSS was formed in 1893, Millicent Garrett Fawcett was the organizations president. The organization was a women only group who wanted to fight for suffrage. The WSPU was first thought to have revived the suffrage campaign, not only making a radical contribution to gaining votes for women but also to feminism. However historians now believe these tactics to have severely impeded progression of the cause.
The WSPU spent 3 years in the north of England doing propaganda work, conducting meetings and door-to-door canvasing, recruiting support from working women for the suffrage cause. However in 1905 the WSPU, led by Christabel, decided to pursue less conventional methods to help in gaining the vote. In Manchester on the 13 of October Christabel and, the only senior working class WSPU member, Annie Kennedy barged in to a Liberal party meeting shouting and demanding to know if the Liberals were returned to power, they in fact give women the vote. This question was unanswered. Both women were arrested, during which the women spat at and hit police men resulting in them being charged with assault and obstruction. Christabel was sentenced to 10 days and...
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