Emmeline Pankhurst – England (1858 – 1928)

Linked with The positive side to anger.

Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden; 15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928) was a political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement. Although she was widely criticised for her militant tactics, her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women’s suffrage in Britain. However, historians disagree about whether she did more to help or hinder public support for the cause. Born and raised in Manchester by politically active parents, Pankhurst was introduced at a young age to the women’s suffrage movement. Although her parents encouraged her to prepare herself for life as a wife and mother, she attended the École Normale de Neuilly in Paris. In 1878 she married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister known for supporting women’s right to vote; they had five children over the next ten years. He also supported her activities outside the home, and she quickly became involved with the Women’s Franchise League, which advocated suffrage for women. When that organisation broke apart, she attempted to join the left-leaning Independent Labour Party (the ILP was a socialist political party in the United Kingdom) through her friendship with socialist Keir Hardie, but was initially refused membership by the local branch of the Party on account of her gender. She also worked as a Poor Law Guardian, where she was startled by harsh conditions in Manchester workhouses … (full long text).

… Richard and Emmeline were immediately attracted to each other and although there was a significant age difference, he was forty-four and she was only twenty, Richard Goulden gave permission for the marriage to take place. Emmeline had four children in the first six years of marriage: Christabel Pankhurst (1880), Sylvia Pankhurst (1882), Frank (1884) and Adela (1885). During these years Richard and Emmeline continued their involvement in the struggle for women’s rights and in 1889 helped form the pressure group, the Women’s Franchise League … // … Emmeline continued her involvement in politics but she grew gradually disillusioned with the existing women’s political organizations and in 1903 she founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). At first Emmeline intended that the main aim of the organisation was to recruit working class women into the struggle for the vote … (full text).

A Conservative Revolutionary: Emmeline Pankhurst (1857-1928), a long essay by Carl Rollyson.


Emmeline Pankhurst – England (1858 – 1928):

  • Emmeline Pankhurst is shown, above (center), being released from a English jail after yet another arrest. The suffragists who were arrested went on hunger strikes and were force – fed by the police – usually through a funnel thrust down their throats and food dumped into it. The damage to the women’s health was astounding. The Brit police (and later the police in the U.S.) would arrest the women, keep them for up to 30 days, release them until they got healthy again and then arrested them yet again and again. It was called the cat and mouse game … (fullt text right column).
  • … When these measures risked taking lives, the infamous Cat & Mouse Act was passed so that a dangerously weakened hunger striker would be released and then rearrested when strong enough to continue her sentence. Under its terms, Mrs. Pankhurst, age 54 in 1912, went to prison 12 times that year. No wonder she railed, “The militancy of men, through all the centuries, has drenched the world with blood. The militancy of women has harmed no human life save the lives of those who fought the battle of righteousness” … (full text).
  • Cat and Mouse Act, nickname for a British law of 1913 — the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act—that allowed the government to release and later re-imprison suffragettes who went on hunger strike in jail … (full text on MS Encarta).
  • Google Web-search for Cat and Mouse Act.

She worked for the British suffragette movement … (and she) led the movement to win the right for women to vote … and: … In 1918 the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).

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She said: … “the Government must not think that they can stop this agitation. It will go on … We are here not because we are law-breakers; we are here in out efforts to become law-makers … and: “We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half” … and: “What is the use of fighting for a vote if we have not got a country to vote in?” … (on better world heroes.com).

Sunday March 8th is International Women’s Day and there’s a wonderous array of events going on in the region to tickle your fancy…here’s the low down: Where better to start than the home of the suffragette movement; The Pankhurst Centre are celebrating International Women’s Day with heritage talks and information stalls from 10am, followed by an international lunch at around 12pm. In the afternoon (1.30pm) there will be a whole host of workshops on offer, ranging from drama, tap dancing, djing, African drumming and creative writing. There will be a crèche available at this time. The Pankhurst Centre’s evening event will begin at 6pm with entertainment from the urban gypsies … (full text, published: 5 March 2009).

25th February 2009: On this day in … 1913 – Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst went on trial for a bomb attack on the house of David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer … (on newshopper).

Find her and her publications on Google Video-search; on Google Images-results; on Google Group-search; on Google Book-search and -results; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search.

After years of the BBC attacking Thatcherism and the lady herself, a miracle: the Corporation is about to broadcast a film which depicts her as a cross between Elizabeth I and the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. The production, which includes some witheringly satirical cameos, is not quite a hagiography, and it catches Mrs T’s habit of thinking she was right the whole time … (full text).

Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester, nee Goulden, and married Richard Pankhurst. He was a firm believer in the social and political emancipation of women and his ideas did a lot to bolster the beliefs of Emmeline … //… During the famous militant acts of the WSPU, Emmeline Pankhurst took on a decisive role that saw her being arrested on a number of occasions – six times between 1908 and 1912. As the Suffragette movement became more militant, so society took a more hard line view on their activities. The 1913 Derby and the act of Emily Wilding Davison shocked and outraged society. However, during World War One, Emmeline Pankhurst encouraged all women to do what they could for the war effort. There is a definite link between the work women did in World War One and their enfranchisement in 1918 – though historians have questioned just how important that link was … (full text).

Freedom or death:

  • - She said also: … “When women asked questions in political meetings, and failed to get answers, they were not doing anything militant. to ask questions at political meetings is an acknowledged right of all people who attend public meetings; certainly in my country, men have always done it, and I hope they do it in America, because it seems to me that if you allow people to enter your legislatures without asking them any questions as to what they are going to do when they get there you are not exercising your citizen rights and your citizen’s duties as you ought. “At any rate in Great Britain it is a custom, a time-honored one, to ask questions of candidates for Parliament and ask questions of members of the government. No man was ever put out of a public meeting for asking a question until Votes for Women came onto the political horizon. The first people who were put out of a political meeting for asking questions, were women; they were brutally ill-used; they found themselves in jail before twenty-four hours had expired. (full speech, Nov 13, 1913).
  • – See the same:  This speech was delivered in Hartford, Connecticut on November 13, 1913, published on The Guardian, 27 April 2007.
  • – Germaine Greer writes: “Emmeline Pankhurst made her most famous speech on a fundraising tour of the US in autumn 1913. During the preceding 18 months she had been imprisoned 12 times, but had served no more than 30 days, all of them on hunger strike. According to her daughter and comrade, Christabel Pankhurst, prison staff never dared to force-feed her. In response to public revulsion, force-feeding was abandoned in 1913 and the “Cat and Mouse Act” brought in, which provided that fasting female inmates whose health was suffering be released until their health improved, then rearrested as often as necessary until their sentence was served out … (full text, April 27, 2007).


The International Women’s Day on HREA.org;

HIS-120 MODERN EUROPE, 1789 – Present;

Great speeches of the 20th century;

The Year of the Woman was a popular label attached to 1992 after the election of a number of female Senators in the United States;

Third-wave Feminism: refers to a feminist movement that gained popularity in the 1990s … third-wave theory usually incorporates elements of queer theory, transgender politics and a rejection of the gender binary, anti-racism and women-of-color consciousness, womanism, post-colonial theory, critical theory, postmodernism, transnationalism, ecofeminism, libertarian feminism, and new feminist theory;

Chartism – and Chartist

Spartacus Educational and its Spartacus blog;, and its links to SOS Children’s Villages and Family of secrets, (the bushs dynasty, by Russ Baker);

some links for Suffragette: on wikipedia; on BBC;on punch cartoons; on museum of London; on The Guardian: anniversary of right to vote; on UK parliament /archives; on Spartacus.

The History Learning Site, and its Britain’s political changes 1700 – 1900;

Categories on wikipedia:

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