WSPU Rhetoric: Justifying Militancy
AbstractThis article investigates the rhetoric employed by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK during the campaign for women’s suffrage. It argues that the rhetoric, as a result of adopting a militant approach, increasingly served the purpose of justifying the method rather than the cause. Based on an analysis of speeches by leading members of the WSPU, the article finds that the Union rhetoric justified the use of militancy by systematically drawing on democratic and social values, attacking the credibility of the legislators, promoting binary thinking and situating the conflict within the framework of a “just war.”
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