Student Research Projects

The Women’s Social and Political Union: Legality, Femininity and Violence from 1903-1910

Student Christine Dawe ’12
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course HIST 353: European Women's History Since 1700


This paper focuses on the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Britain between 1903 and 1910. It challenges the historical interpretation that asserts that the WSPU was founded as a violent organization. In particular, it also a few of the outspoken, but entirely legal, demands the organization advanced for the enfranchisement of women in its first seven years. Attention is also given to two of the many derogatory titles critics gave the organization: first “unfeminine” and later “violent,” paying particular attention to the unique implications these labels held for Edwardian women.