WSPU Rhetoric: Justifying Militancy

  • Emilie Boutrup Högagarð Aarhus University
Keywords: Women’s Social and Political Union, WSPU, Pankhurst, women’s suffrage, militancy, rhetoric, just war, political rights, United Kingdom, History, Society, and Culture 2

Abstract

This 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.”

References

Joanou, Maroula and June Purvis, editors. The Women’s Suffrage Movement: New Feminist Perspectives. Manchester University Press, 1998.

Jorgensen-Earp, Cheryl R. The Transfiguring Sword: The Just War of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The University of Alabama Press, 2015. Google Books, books.google.dk/books?id=CzLJBwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=da&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed 30 May 2017.

Kenney, Annie, speaker. “Speeches by Members of the Women’s Social and Political Union.” Royal Albert Hall Meeting, 19 March 1908. Transcript of speech. The National Archieves, discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/143bc05f-3e63-4603-9be7-8daf75a7c881, accessed 30 May 2017.

Pankhurst, Christabel. 1908. “Source 16 – Christabel Pankhurst [Transcript of speech given upon her release from prison]”. British Library, www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/struggle/suffrage/sources/source16/christabel.html, accessed 30 May 2017.

Pankhurst, Christabel. Unshackled: The Story of How We Won the Vote. Edited by Lord Pethick-Lawrence of Peaslake, Hutchinson & Co., 1959.

Pankhurst, Emmeline, speaker. “Freedom or Death.” Hartford, Connecticut, 13 November 1913. Transcript of speech. The Guardian, www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2007/apr/27/greatspeeches, accessed 30 May 2017.

---, speaker. “I Incite This Meeting to Rebellion.” Royal Albert Hall Meeting, 17 October 1912. Transcript of speech. History is a Weapon, www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/pankhurstincitetorebel.html, accessed 30 May 2017.

---, My Own Story. London, Eveleigh Nash, 191, Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/files/34856/34856-h/34856-h.htm, accessed 30 May 2017.

---, speaker. “Speeches by Members of the Women’s Social and Political Union.” Royal Albert Hall Meeting, 19 March 1908. Transcript of speech. The National Archieves, discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/143bc05f-3e63-4603-9be7-8daf75a7c881, accessed 30 May 2017.

Rosen, Andrew. Rise Up, Women: The Militant Campaign of the Women’s Social and Political Union 1903-1914. Vol. 23, Routledge, 2014.

Stocchetti, Matteo. “The Politics of fear: a Critical Inquiry into the Role of Violence in 21st Century Politics.” Discourse, War, Terrorism, edited by Adam Hodges and Chad Nilep.

Discourse Approaches to Politics,Society and Culture, vol. 24, John Benjamin Publishing Company, 2007, pp. 223-241.

Taylor, Maxwell. The Terrorist. London, Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1988.

Published
2017-09-01
How to Cite
Högagarð, E. (2017). WSPU Rhetoric: Justifying Militancy. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (1). https://doi.org/10.7146/lev.v0i1.96777
Section
Articles