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Emily Davison

The Marytr of the Women's Suffrage Movement


Emily Wilding Davison was an English Suffragette, the more violent side of the women's suffrage movement. She was arrested 9 times, went on hunger strikes 7 times and was force fed 49 times.She was probably most known for being the martyr of the suffrage movement, which we'll get more into in a minute.

Childhood and Education

Emily Davison grew up in a middle-class family, born to a merchant and his second wife. She was born the 11th of October in 1872, and she was the third child of four, with the youngest dying at the age of six. They then went on to study at Royal Holloway College in London and St Hugh's College in Oxford and acheived a first-class degree in English. She then took jobs as a teacher and governess.

What Were Her Tactics?

She then went on to join the WSPU in 1906. She became an officer of the organisation and also a cheif steward during marches. The ways in which she rebelled was breaking windows, throuwing stones, setting fire to postboxes and planting bombs. Her doing this led for her to be put in prison, and doing what most suffragettes did and going on a hunger strike and being force fed, which will be explained on the next slide. She was also known for having so called "accidents"

What does it mean to be force fed?

I thought it was important to go through what is meant by being force fed, as it is an important part of the history of suffragettes.First, it is important to know that suffragettes were sent to prison sometimes, for being physically disobedient, such as smashing windows. This would then lead them to be. arrested and sent to prison. In prison some women would rebel and not eat food (hunger strike) or not drink (thirst strike). This resulted in being force fed.Being force fed, was being forced to eat, but it was not them being told to eat, or something like that. It is a method they use for patients so that they can eat, if the can't eat normally. This method includes pushing liquid foods down the throat through the nose, this made the prisoners eat, but it was not healthy.The reason these suffragettes would perform a hunger strike, was because the public would see this, and if the government didn't do something, the public would notbe happy with the government, leading to the government putting an end to it because they want to remain in power.

‘The true militant suffragette is an epitome of the determination of women to possess their own soul.’

Emily Davison

When it says "to possess their own soul", they mean to be their own person. Meaning the true fight that was being fought was to become their own person, and a person has their own opinion, that they can show when voting.

What does it mean?

The Death of Davison

Emily Davison died at the Epsom Derby Horse Race in 1913. She died 4 days after being hit in the head by a horse, she never regained consciousness. A common subject for debate is if her death was planned. Some believe it was, as she was known to think that "one big tragedy may save many others", and she had accidents or tragedies like this before, such as jumping down floors. On the other hand, some people believe she was merely trying to hang the women's suffrage flag on the King's horse (though this no mere act), this theory is backed up by the fact that Davison had a return ticket and a ticket to a suffragette meeting for after the race. The in-between and my belief is that she meant to have a mishap, but not to die. Thinking that she would show why she was performing this tragedy by holding the suffrage movement. She died 8th June 1913

How Significant Was She?

Emily Davison was significant to a medium extent.I believe Davison was significant becuse of her death. Emily Davison's death makes her significant because the public would see how she was holding a woman's suffrage flag, and link it to that. The public may think that they are hurting themselves because they don't have the vote, therefore they would be upset with the government because they are not putting an end to the suffering. Though, this may not get this far, as the government may be too scared of loosing voters and power leading them to make an agreement, plan to give them the vote, though these had not gone successfully in the past.On the other hand, I believe that Davison was not that significant, because of the interpretations of her death. Some people may have thought that Emily Davison was stupid, and therfore only proving their reasoning for not giving them the vote. Also the goverment and the public may feel as if the suffragettes and suffragists are hurting themselves, therefore they should not be trusted with the vote and should even be sentenced to more time in prison.To conclude, Emily Davison was fairly significant, as this marytrdom could be taken in different ways by different people, and they could think that it needs to be stopped, but iether through prison or the vote.

As shown on the left, Emily Davison's death was a sacrifise for women, which makes her important to me, as she, as she said was needed, gave her life, the "one big tragedy" so that others wouldn't have to, "to save many others"The Newspaper on the left was made after her death, saying how "she died for women" and how she showed love as she had layed "down his life for his friends" to get the vote and be treated as equals

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