Criminalization

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Why do people protest?

In hopes for a more representative democracy, citizens have the power of "voting" to help elect a smaller group of people who can advocate for the people's desires and wants.

In the case of women back in the 1900s, they did not have the power to vote, and therefore no one could voice and include their desires and wants for any legislative changes. Thus, their starting point was to gather like-minded women who disagreed with their lack of power in legislation and in voting for the people's representatives and thus they protested.

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What does it mean to protest?

In most countries the power to make rules and enforce them has been within the governing body's power. Therefore, if there are disagreements or disapprovals, people will gather and cause a "disturbance" or an action in which the regular flow of life is disrupted in some way to raise awarness and attract governement attention so changes can be made.

How did the women protest?

Traditional forms of communication with government representatives, such as lobbyibg and petitioning, were often employed in order to gain support.

The suffragette's movement, however, was greatly united through staged demonstrations, marches, and campaigns that would gain more public attention and therefore a bigger movement.

Public rallies and interest eventually helped bring together the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), which became a core for many of the protests.

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Why were suffragettes criminalized?

The act of protesting was well within the rights of people who felt dissastifaction towards the governement. Although the women protested, their forms of protest were more often than not non-violent and did not cause public physical harm.

In many of the court files and reports listed, women were charged with being "too loud," or making lots of "clapping, shouting, or loud noises" that caused a "public disturbance." In order to push back on the idea that women should be able to vote, anti-suffragettes mainly focused on anything they could pick on to be against the "common good." Courts would have countless reports on women who decided to take a stand against the injustice they felt in the democratic and legislative world.

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How did the court view them?

The court often recieved files of complaints. When skimming through the below analysis chart and word clouds, it can be inferred that in general, despite the women exercising their rights to protest and show discontent, they were often imprisoned for weeks to months at a time, depending on the scale and the number of people involved in the protest.

Sometimes, women would be detained for a few days and then let go, just to come back to detainment again.

The Government Documents, Legal Papers, and Court Records from the Suffragette dataset was used for the above analysis.

The Sentiment Analysis shows that most of the language used was neutral (legal terminology) while the charges and sentences given thereof were of negative conotation.

The NGram Wordclud more specifically looks at what terms were used often, using terms such as "prison" and "convict."