Militant Suffragist

Author: Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) was British political activist who advocated for women’s suffrage, lead the suffragette movement, and eventually succeeding in winning women the right to vote in Britain. In 1878 she married Richard Pankhurst, who supported and encouraged her activism, and she was known for her militant approach to suffragism.
Context:¬†Militant Suffragist¬†was a speech delivered by Pankhurst in 1913 as part of her speaking tour through the United States. At the time, U.S. suffragettes were beginning to experiment with Pankhurst’s militant strategies, and the women’s suffrage movement was undergoing a period of revitalization.
Language: The language is concise and accessible, and Pankhurst takes the tone of a General addressing her soldiers in preparation for what she dubs a “civil war.”
Audience: Pankhurst’s audience is an assembly of American women’s rights activists and others interested in her ideas on the suffragette movement.
Intent: Pankhurst’s primary intent is to assert her dedication to the women’s suffrage movement and reinforce the severity of the war that women’s rights activists are facing. She maintains that she is not speaking to advocate for women’s suffrage, but rather to fight and possibly die for it.
Message: The message that Pankhurst conveys is one of frankness and gravity. She is intensely determined to fight for her rights and seeks to mobilize American women into doing the same. She emphasizes the the time for advocacy has passed and that women across the world have entered into a period of civil war. Women must be willing to die for their rights or they will never realize them.

2 thoughts on “Militant Suffragist

  1. When you speak about her frankness I think her last line is the epitome of her message. When she writes “unless you are prepared to put back civilization two or three generations” she is putting all her cards out on the table. It is incredibly different from the the prior readings from women at this time. Pankhurst’s greatest strength is that she holds nothing back and it cannot be understated.

  2. She was able to make men realize that women would actually stand up for themselves because this was a topic that was so important to them. When she came out with this sort of passion, the men must’ve been kind of taken aback by how inflammatory she was. They realized that women were going to be willing to die for what they deemed necessary in order to survive.

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