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1913 - Womens Suffrage Parade

Women's Suffrage Parade - thousands of advocates for women's rights descend on Washington. It was the first large, organized march on Washington for political purposes

On March 3, 1913 over 5,000 women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. for universal women’s suffrage. The event was scheduled on the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded,” as the official program stated. The march and the attention that it attracted were monumental in advancing women’s suffrage in the United States.

The parade included nine bands, four mounted brigades, 20 floats, and an allegorical performance near the Treasury Building. The marchers were separated into different categories. Leading the parade, wearing a crown and long white cape on top a white horse, was labor lawyer Inez Milholland. Women from countries that had already enfranchised women were first, along with officers in the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The parade appeared to have a good start; however Pennsylvania Avenue soon became choked with thousands of spectators. At the same time a few blocks away, president-elect Wilson arrived at the railway station to very little fanfare. When they asked where everyone was, they were told everyone was “watching the suffrage parade.”

Mostly men, the spectators began to jostle and hurl insults at the parade members. With massive crowds, the parade could barely get past. Some women were tripped and assaulted while the police did little to stop it. One policeman even told some women that they should have stayed home where they belonged. Over one hundred marchers were hospitalized due to the injuries they received from the crowds.

The mistreatment of the marchers by the crowd and the police caused a great furor. Alice Paul shaped the public response after the parade, portraying the incident as symbolic of systemic government mistreatment of women, stemming from their lack of a voice and political influence through the vote. She claimed the incident showed that the government’s role in women’s lives had broken down, and that it was incapable of even providing women with physical safety.


Further Reading


The Atlantic - The 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade

History.comHuge Women’s March Drowned Out a Presidential Inauguration in 1913

SmithsonianThe Original Women’s March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way

1913 - Emily Davison

Emily Davison's sacrifice - militant suffragette throws herself in front of the King's Horse at the Epsom Derby and is killed

On the morning of June 4, 1913, Davison boarded a train at London’s Victoria Station for the short ride to Epsom Downs, southwest of the city. It was Derby Day, and King George V’s horse Anmer was running in the third race. His Majesty, Queen Mary and other members of the Royal Family were attending the festivities. Davison carried two purple, white and green flags, the suffragettes’ colours.

Ridden by jockey Herbert Jones, Anmer was near the back of the pack as the horse headed toward the finish line, past the Royal box, and the spot on the track where news film was being shot. Davison, who was standing near the track, slipped under the railing and planted herself directly in front of Jones and Anmer. Spectators said it appeared as if Davison attempted to grab Anmer’s reins, likely in an ill-conceived attempt to pin the colours on the horse. But Anmer was running too fast and crashed into her. The hard impact sent Davison into the air, rolling over several times before she collapsed, as Jones and Anmer tumbled to the ground. The crowd fell momentarily silent, until several people yelled their concern … for the horse.

Jones fractured a rib, but Anmer did not sustain any serious injuries. Davison, however, never regained consciousness. She was taken to a local hospital where she died four days later, a martyr to the women’s cause.

Given that Davison had purchased a return train ticket, and had planned a trip to visit her sister in Paris, the odds are that she did not intend to die that afternoon. She was not “a suicidal fanatic,” asserts Howes. Yet enormous frustration had compelled her to act in an uncharacteristic and, in retrospect, rash manner.


Further Reading


Historic UK - Emily Davison, Death at the Derby
BBC Suffragettes: Emily Davison's death at Epsom Derby

Royal Cousins - King George V and his physically similar cousin Tsar Nicholas II in German military uniforms in Berlin

Tsar Nicolas and George V in uniform

European royalty gathered during the wedding of the German Kaiser’s daughter Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia. The wedding, an extravagant affair, took place on 24 May 1913 in Berlin. In a diplomatic gesture, Emperor Wilhelm invited almost his entire extended family. The wedding was one of the last great social events of European royalty before World War I began fourteen months later.

At the outbreak of the First World War the royal descendants of Queen Victoria (Queen of the United Kingdom) and of Christian IX (King of Denmark) occupied the thrones of Denmark, Greece, Norway, Germany, Romania, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

When Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, George’s first cousin, was overthrown in the Russian Revolution of 1917, the British government offered political asylum to the Tsar and his family, but worsening conditions for the British people, and fears that revolution might come to the British Isles, led George to think that the presence of the Russian royals would be seen as inappropriate. Despite the later claims of Lord Mountbatten of Burma that Prime Minister Lloyd George was opposed to the rescue of the Russian imperial family, the letters of Lord Stamfordham suggest that it was George V who opposed the rescue against the advice of the government. The Tsar and his immediate family remained in Russia, where they were killed by Bolsheviks in 1918. King George V essentially signing his owns cousin’s death certificate.


Further Reading


BBC - The Monarchs and their Families

The GuardianThe Last Emperors

History Colored - The 3 Cousins at War: King George V, Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II

1913 - Royal cousins
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