Women's Source Library: Suffrage and the Pankhursts by Jane Marcus

By Jane Marcus

First released in 1987. This assortment brings jointly vital articles written via Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters through the Suffragette crusade, 1903-14. features a transcript of the 1908 trial of the suffragette leaders, their speeches, and significant pamphlets of the Women's Social and Political Union.

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They are much more interested in this 'side issue,' as politicians are fond of calling the votes for women question. A side issue in a politician's mouth means, you know, a question that he prefers the electors not to take any notice of, and when, as is the case nowadays, it is said on the defeat of a Liberal candidate, that side issues had much to do with that defeat, you may know that 'votes- for women' has been the real issue of the election! You must have noticed, too, frequent denunciations by Liberal candidates and their supporters of the 'outside organisations' which enter the field at each byeelection in opposition to the Government, and one Member of the Government, Lord Crewe, has said that their activity must be suppressed by law.

But this, like other illusions, will disappear as they find it more and more impossible to get elected to the House of Commons, because the women are there, barring the door against them. Well now, that is what the men do to help us: they vote against the Government because the Government deny us politicaljustice. How have we gained the support of men? It is by the militant methods that we have done it. It used to be said that we were alienating the country; but it is now recognised that by the new methods we have roused a feeling of chivalry in the electors and have stirred them to help us.

I think these words should be written on the mind and heart of every member of the House of Commons, and, above all, every member of the Liberal Government. ' He spoke a great truth, he expounded a great law. Friends, if we are found guilty by the law of this land, we shall hold ourselves to be innocent by a higher law. There is a thing within the memory of the youngest here, a battle for the franchise to which I must draw your attention now. The Uitlanders in South Africa found they could not wait five years to get the vote (though women wait a lifetime, and do not get it, and are by some condemned for protesting against so great a wrong).

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