The question I’m answering is mainly based on dates and circumstances, the dates of the sources are important because they all happen in a two year time span so its easy to pin point specific situation that may of kicked off WSPU insurgencies into more militant activities. I will answer this question by going through the source then analysing the strengths and weaknesses. Then conclude on how the source actually helps me to answer the direct question. In source A, we see a woman being forced fed through the nose.
The title of this source is ‘The Governments methods of barbarism’ at the bottom of this source we see a small overview of how a person is force-fed. The problem with this source is that it is a cartoon, so hence it is not a fall proof reliable source. No one was there to draw this picture, the illustrator of the source is just getting an information of force feeding from a suffragette who has had first hand experience of this treatment. Thus the handling of the victim is going to be exaggerated so it sounds and looks worse than it may have been.
All this source is, is just suffragette propaganda to show how barbarous the Liberal government was to the suffragette prisoners. Also the source doesn’t tell us why these type of action were taken place, it doesn’t explain that these women were put in jail for acts such as windows smashing or arson. And that force feeding had to take place so that the women wouldn’t die and that would give even more publicity for the suffragette cause if a member did die in a government jail.
These limitation of the source do in some ways obstruct their own cause for the franchise because the only reason these women are in jail is because they has cause criminal damage or have caused some disturbance, and that the government has to force feed them so they don’t die and in reality shows a bad light on the suffragette movement. Source B shows a WSPU member Mary Phillips being arrested, with a small poem underneath: “Hustle them in. Scoop up Th’ shriken’ mob.
Who says that “justice”” is goin’ to win. When “The law” takes up the job? The scene shows a lone woman being escorted by a cortege of policemen, in this source we see no other women or militant activity. There are many limitation to this source one such limitation is that we don’t see the whole picture of this scene going on, firstly we don’t see why this woman has been arrested and secondly where are the rest of the women and what are they doing.
And again like in source A it shows that the WSPU have caused havoc in someway for one of their members to be arrested, the obstructs there promotion of the franchise because it shows that at the time the main way the WSPU are trying to the get the right to vote is by causing vandalism, thus trying to frighten the government into submission. The source however doesn’t really tell us much about how the militant campaign of the suffragettes was interfering in their case for franchise. Because we don’t actually see any of the suffragettes militancy in the picture.
This source also links with source D that shows “Wild scenes” at Buckingham Palace, it links in with Source B because again we don’t see the full picture of the action, all we see is a small group of women violently protesting, we don’t see the vast majority of women probably peacefully protesting out of shot. This scene is happening because Emmeline Pankhurst is trying to present a partition to King George. Again this source is limited because we don’t see what happened before and after this picture was taken.
And that again we see suffragettes rioting, this emphasises that the only way in which they are trying to get the vote is by protesting, sometimes violently. Other historians though may view this scene differently, they may see that the police have caused this mayhem by lashing out first to try and dispel the protesters and this has caused widespread panic at the gates of the Palace. Source C is an account by a suffragette who has been arrested and has been sent to Holloway women’s prison.
The source tells us what this women has been through while she was in jail. The limitations of this source is that it could be completely false and she just made up her ordeal to get more publicity for the suffragette cause to show how badly the government is treating women in prison. But then again it could be true and again look bad for the government firstly for having such a backward for of imprisonment and also because some of these women were labelled as ‘second class’ prisoners, so they were as equal as lunatics and murderers who if male can have the vote.
This source doesn’t really obstruct the WSPU’s promotion of the franchise because all the source is, is an account of someone’s ordeal in a women’s prison, and in reality it is a good piece of propaganda for them to gain more support. Source E shows the funeral procession of Emily Davidson who threw herself in front of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby race.
This source is good for the suffragettes in some ways because it was the first ‘martyr’ for the suffragettes and gave a huge amount of media coverage and got across how far some of their members will go to try and get the franchise for women. This source shows a large public presence on the streets and a line of women in the middle of road, this source may have limitation in which the crowd may not be there to watch the funeral procession and also it looks like that the vast majority of the crowd are men not women.
This source again does not have a direct responsibility for obstructing the franchise cause but the ‘martyrism’ of Miss Davidson did hamper the cause somewhat. Source F shows the member numbers of the WSPU’s and the NUWSS and also the annual income of the WSPU, we see that membership for both groups grew through the year from 1906 till the war with a slight dip for the WSPU, these sources do show limitations, such as the annual income of the WSPU doesn’t show us who actually donated the money and all that income could come from just a few aristocratic people.
This source does however show that the WSPU’s militant campaign did obstruct there fight for the vote, because we see a dip in the number of members in 1913-14 this may show that women were becoming disheartened by the increased use of violence to get the franchise. In Conclusion the sources do go someway in showing us how far they suggest that the militant campaigns of the WSPU’s blocked the question of franchise.
But some of the sources did not have any real straight path into the question of militant campaigns such as the statistics. There should have been another source consisting maybe of a burnt house or broken window to show us what actually the WSPU did in their quest for the franchise.