‘The cold dark night is past’: August 1899–May 1906<sup>1</sup>

Maureen Wright

in Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and the Victorian Feminist Movement

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081095
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700037 | DOI:
‘The cold dark night is past’: August 1899–May 19061

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This chapter describes Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy's pacifism over her militancy. She wrote of ‘our outlanders’ at home, castigating the government for preparing to defend the rights of disenfranchised male settlers in the Boer Republics of South Africa while every British woman remained without a political voice. Her personal construction of militancy was never one that would envisage the loss of human life. Elizabeth's peerless organisational skills and her philosophy of ‘consent’ to government based on personal autonomy were crucial in achieving the success of the National Convention. She undertook the arduous work following the National Convention at a time of extreme anxiousness in her private life. Her engagement with socialist ideals took a final and possibly surprising turn and her total commitment to the style of militancy advocated by the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was revised.

Keywords: Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy; pacifism; militancy; British woman; National Convention; Women's Social and Political Union

Chapter.  11515 words.  Illustrated.

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