No one really knows what Emily Davison had in mind when she ran in front of the racehorse Amner that day. She had already established herself as a determined and clever protester – seriously, take a look at some her prior stunts – and it can’t be ruled out that this was intended as another one.
She was carrying a suffragette banner, so some sort of protest was probably intended. She was also carrying a return train ticket and a ticket for dance being held by the Suffragettes later that day, so it’s unlikely that she intended to die. Most likely, she expected the horse to stop.
For whatever reason, the horse did not. Davison was trampled and died four days later of a fractured skull. Whether it was her intent or not, she became a martyr to the Suffragette movement.
As in many countries, the struggle of women for equality under law in the United States of America was a long and difficult one. The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 was a major step in this process, granting women the right to vote at a federal level. Although a majority of states in the union had already granted suffrage to a greater or lesser degree, the 19 Amendment granted the franchise to women across the entire nation.
The bill passed only after having been rejected once already earlier that year – on this second occasion, its passage was widely atrributed to the passionate appeals made to Congress and the Senate by President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat and a staunch supporter of the suffragist cause.
The move towards suffrage was led by a number of women who are now renowned as the heroes of both feminism and democracy they truly are. Although the woman most closely associated with the passage of the Amendment was Susan B. Anthony, the roles of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who founded what would become the primary suffragist movement, the National Women’s Party, should not be overlooked either.
Women voted for the first time in the Presidential elections of 1920, at which the Republican Warren G. Harding was elected President.
The Right To Vote — Laura Nyro
Sufferin’ ’til Suffrage — Schoolhouse Rock