'Votes for Women': An Analysis of the Militant Campaign

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When one reads the literature on the militant suffragettes, one is left with the impression that the extent of their militancy was confined to smashing a few windows,slashing some works of art and, at most, setting fire to empty houses. This picture does not, however, stand up to closer examination. This article seeks to show how the militant campaign for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom embodies the characteristics of terrorism. The militant campaign involved the use or threat of use of violence, the targets selected were symbolic and the methods employed were extreme. Although the aim was to instil fear or to terrorise, one form of militancy not entertained by the suffragettes was the indiscriminate killing and injuring which has become a familiar tactic in violent protest. Even with this consideration the militant campaign can be viewed as one involving terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Women's suffrage
  • violent protest
  • terrorism


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