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The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was a women-only political movement and leading militant organisation campaigning for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom from 1903 to 1918. Known from 1906 as the suffragettes, its membership and policies were tightly controlled by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia; Sylvia was eventually expelled.
|Formation||10 October 1903|
|Founders||Emmeline Pankhurst |
|Founded at||62 Nelson Street, Manchester, England|
|Type||Women-only political movement|
|Purpose||Votes for women|
|Motto||"Deeds, not words"|
|Methods||Demonstrations, marches, direct action, hunger strikes, bombings|
The WSPU membership became known for civil disobedience and direct action. Emmeline Pankhurst described them as engaging in a "reign of terror". Group members heckled politicians, held demonstrations and marches, broke the law to force arrests, broke windows in prominent buildings, set fire to or introduced chemicals into postboxes thus injuring several postal workers, and committed a series of arsons that killed at least five people and injured at least 24. When imprisoned, the group's members engaged in hunger strikes and were subject to force-feeding. Emmeline Pankhurst said the group's goal was "to make England and every department of English life insecure and unsafe".