The 1913 Derby

Question 4 – Study source F. How reliable is this account? Explain your answer.

Source F was written by Mary Richardson who was also part of the Suffragette movement, so I have to beware that she may be bias but in the source she doesn’t actually strongly suggest that Emily was a martyr, she says she has been told this but her own opinion is not voiced. She simply recalls seeing Emily and describes how she was acting.

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But this was written for her own auto biography, there was a lot of time between the dates of the event and when the book was written, Mary describes Emily’s actions in great detail but I am not sure if she would be able to remember small details like if her hands were shaking and i also ask the question, if she didn’t know what Emily was going to do, why look to see if she is shaking? I believe she is not trying to prove Emily was a martyr but she is trying to make her book more interesting and so this is not a very reliable source even though she was an eyewitness she has too many reasons to exaggerate or manipulate the event.

Question 5 – Study Sources G and H. How far is the account in source G supported by source H? Explain your answer.

Source G was written the same year Emily died, we do not know if the author ever made contact with Emily Davison but it sounds as though they may of at least observed her some when because she has a conversation which quite exact words included.

They both support each other that she had two suffragette flags on her and the date of which the incident happened but H tells me about the colours and the exact measurements, which the other doesn’t.

One thing that the accounts don’t support each other in is the fact that she had a pass for a suffragette festival on the 4th of June but why would she have got one when in source G she already said she has planned to go to the derby on that day, that doesn’t make much sense. There also is no mention of the return ticket to London in G so one or both of these reports can’t be reliable as they contradict what the other says.

Question 6 – Which interpretation is best supported by the evidence in these sources and your knowledge of the period? Explain your answer.

Interpretation A is saying that Emily went to the derby with the intention to die and become a martyr. B is saying that Emily did not intend to kill herself she simply wanted to draw more attention for women’s suffrage and was a fanatic who was prepared to go to extreme measures for her beliefs.

Many of the sources differ in opinion, I have found that sources A, B, D and F all point to Emily being a martyr, 3 out of these 4 sources have been written by suffragettes, one written by Emily herself, whom are going to be bias. The other, D was written by a reporter who seems quite sure that Emily was a martyr.

I find that only sources H and I suggest she was fanatic, based purely on the items found on her body suggesting she intended to carry on with her life not die that day.

The other sources, C, E and G, I fond hard to categorize as they either suggest both in some ways and neither. C is just a photo taken slightly after the event and there is no one’s opinion by it doesn’t support either. Then there is E which is written by a reporter who doesn’t know much about the situation and is just summing up all possibilities so this source suggests she could have been a martyr or a fanatic. Then there is G, which doesn’t really tell me much about her intention, just that she wanted to flags, possible to make a statement with or to die with them on her body, it’s impossible to tell.

The sources to me support interpretation A. Although this doesn’t mean that Emily was a martyr as the sources may be bias or unreliable, this also fits in with the personal opinion I have formed from my background knowledge.

This opinion, I think is proved in Source A where Emily herself talks about how in prison she tried to kill herself for the cause, then in D and F, two people who knew her and what she was like, what she was capable of back this up by saying this was her intention as well, they may well be bias but they probably know more about how Emily felt or thought than the authors of many other sources as they all fought together for the same cause. Then to finalise a reporter who witnessed the event says the same.

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