Emily Wilding Davison's Death for The Suffragette Cause

Emily Wilding Davison's Death for The Suffragette Cause
Emily Wilding Davison is one of the most famous of the suffragettes. It was Emily Wilding Davison who threw herself under the king?s horse at the derby of 1913 marking a mark in the annals of not only history, but how women?s plights of not being able to vote, were so dramatically thrown into the public spot light. How ever even till today, the reason for her to do this is still quite unknown. Many questions still exist. Was she meant to perform an act that nowadays only looks like suicide, or was she just a martyr for the suffragette cause? Emily Wilding Davison was appalled at the state if affairs concerning women in a late Victorian society; she was especially angered by how women were denied the right to vote. For example a very wealthy female land owner could not vote however her male staff could. Emily Davison became a follower of the suffragettes, and believed there policy of women were being treated as second class citizens. That statement angered Emily Wilding Davison, but was it enough to make her take her own life at the derby in 1913? The derby was held on the June 4th 1913, Emily Wilding Davison achieved her place in history as she lost her life in a race at the derby.
The horses came out of Tattenham corner, the kings horse (Anmer) was third from last, Emily Wilding Davison got underneath the barrier and was hit by Anmer. Why would an intelligent woman perform a tragic act of this nature? Or was she a martyr for the suffragette cause? Source 1 is a still from one of the set cameras on the route of the derby; the still shows Miss Emily Wilding Davison under the king?s horse Anmer. This source is a piece of primary evidence, some of the footage can be found in a variety of mediums today, which include video and the internet to name a few. Filming the event was a new concept to the 1913 derby, with it being state of the art technology. This source is good to an historian as it does not show biast view, however it may of slightly changed with today?s technology with the use of changing the events. In the derby the cameras were in fixed positions around the course. For the suffragettes to get the most attention it would seem quite possible that the incident happened in front of these cameras to get the biggest audience of not only the people of Epson derby but also of people who would watch it again at a later date. In a source I discovered myself, (appendix A) Mary Richardson, describes how she believed Emily Wilding Davison was planning to erect a banner with ?votes for women? believing that this would cause the race to be stopped, however she "suddenly slipped under the rail and ran out" This would be support the view that Emily Wilding Davison committed an act that would give the movement maximum publicity, taking her own life to promote the cause ?Votes For Women?. Source 2 is a piece of secondary evidence however this was written a few years later, and could have had the benefit of hind sight, making it probably biast. The source was written by D.C. Brooks in 1970. This source portrays Emily Wilding Davidson act as "foolish and unnecessary" it might be some use to historians as it gives a view of how Emily Wilding Davison act was perceived by the public, how ever this source was written some 57 years after the event, it may contain the benefit of hind sight, as it goes on to say that "it had little effect on the votes for women movement." This source conflicts with some other sources by saying "Quite by chance, she fell in front of the hoofs of the kings horse" many other sources suggest that Emily Wilding Davison was hit to the ground by chance by the kings horse. Source 3 ? this source is a piece of primary evidence from the times newspaper published the day after the event. The article angle on the events of the Epson derby is that she committed a stupid act. The newspaper is on the government?s side, calling Emily a desperate woman. The times newspaper reports Emily as trying to cross the track rather than trying to stop the race. There are a few sources that seem to support this; however this can not be proven. This source was published the day after, however biast views can not be discounted, this source is valuable because as it gives an account by a newspaper reporter, so things could of changed to make newspapers sell. Source 4 ? this source is a piece of primary evidence written by Emmeline Pankhurst in her biography ?My Own Story?. From the outset this source is very biast towards the suffragette cause, it contains language that milks the situation of Emily?s death. The source was written a year later after Emily?s death and they still haven?t got the vote, this is Emmeline?s response to the death of Emily in her biography. She portrays Emily as a martyr for the suffragette cause"gave up her life for the women?s cause by throwing herself in the path of the next thing to property". Emmeline in this source has the benefit of Hein sight; this source is very valuable to historians even though it is biast; however it shows the response of one of the leaders of the suffragette movements. This source is littered with evidence suggesting that Emily had attempted previous suicides "At one time in prison she tried to kill herself by the throwing herself head long from one of the upper galleries." From a source I have found Appendix B it is a statement from Emily issued by wspu explaining her actions in prison. ?I climbed on to the railing and threw myself out to the wire - netting" Emily described her actions in her mind was "one big tragedy may save many others" Source 5 ? this is a primary source it is a photograph from Emily?s funeral procession through London. In this photograph, the members of the suffragette movement are carrying a banner "Fight on & God Will Give Us the Victory" this I feel is a show to the public and politicians that the suffragettes will carry on fighting for the vote. Photographs are dangerous to historians as they can be changed and modified to suit certain people. This is an important source as it shows that Emily didn?t die in vein, she had the support of the suffragettes, who turned out in mass to send this lady who tried disparately to get women the right to vote. Her methods were some what unorthodox and her convictions to the cause ran so deep, she paid the ultimate price in her beliefs with her triadic death at the 1913 derby at Epson race course. As she once said "one big tragedy may save many others". Appendix C ? this is a source I found, it was written by Sylvia Pankhurst, it states that if Emily was going to purposely going to die at Epson race course, she wouldn?t of have with out writing a farewell message to her mother, there was no message found to her mother. This source is important as it changes the view slightly of the previous sources as they say she was a martyr for the cause. Conclusion From Analysis of many different sources primary and secondary it is hard to determine what were the action and intentions of Emily Wilding Davidson. Many questions still remain today, however they will remain unanswered as the answer may only come from Emily herself. The answers may of came from testimonies however she never left any, Emily?s intentions that day differ from source to source some say she ran out to stop the race, other suggest she was merely crossing the track, and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It has been a debate of many years. I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to say weather it was a freak accident or not, there is to much conflicting evidence to prove one or the other right or wrong. Though in my thoughts is that although many suffragettes endangered their lives by hunger strikes, Emily Davison was the only one who deliberately risked death. However, her actions did not have the desired impact on the general public. One common thread through most sources I have come across are that they appear to be more concerned with the health of the horse and the jockey and Davidson was condemned as a mentally ill fanatic.

Emily Wilding Davison's Death for The Suffragette Cause 9.1 of 10 on the basis of 1465 Review.