Victorian Time Period Essay

1337 words - 6 pages

Many Victorians thought they were living in a time of great change. Queen Victoria’s long reign occurred during political and social stability. But this stability was established before Victoria and most of her subjects were even born.
Britain was free of war between Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 and World War I in 1914. While in power, Victoria was queen-empress of over 200 million people not living in Great Britain. At the same time the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century was expanding. New towns, goods, wealth and jobs for those that were climbing through the middle class. Middle-class and working-class politicians were put into power, allowing all to have a say while still remaining a ...view middle of the document...

This rapid growth of cities caused them to become very dirty and chaotic. Around two million people lived in London at this time. Cities like Manchester and Liverpool were also expanding very quickly. Forty percent of Manchester’s street were unpaved in 1840. Thames River was beginning to fill with waste and sewage.
Great Britain was the first industrialized nation in the world, but along with the benefits there are also some cons. The living conditions of citizens started to slowly degrade. The unsanitary conditions allowed for diseases to spread much more easily. Social reform began to take place among the common public. People were doing, not just thinking of what to do. Women approached social reform as a duty of theirs. Octavia Hill believed that the living conditions of people was one of the most important things in their life. She helped protect historical and scenic spots from being taken over by industrial buildings. Florence Nightingale helped shape the public’s view of modern nursing. When British soldiers were dying, she tried to save their lives. People saw soldiers as “brutes” and had no desire to help them. Florence thought that these soldiers were being murdered by people’s negligence. She found that sanitation was a huge part of health, and that clean conditions helped save lives. Josephine Butler helped stop the exploitation of women from their constitutional rights. These three women helped shape the world we live in today and saved many lives.
Riots started to form because of the cost of bread and the lack of representation in Parliament for working men, and women in general. Even though this was happening, many people believed things were still better than they were years ago. Things were slowly improving. The diet of the average citizen become more diverse because of trading. In 1832, men who owned land that was worth at least 10 pounds in rent per year were allowed to vote. Later in 1867, this right was expanded to include all working-class men besides agricultural workers. By 1928 women aged 21 and over were allowed to now vote. Child labor laws started to come into play, also the average work day was reduced to 10 hours with a half-day on Saturdays. State supported schools were established by 1870 and made free in 1891. By 1900, 90% of the population was literate.
Artists started to use new styles and challenged the population with new ideas. Although many did not like the portrayal of the Holy Family, it was Revolutionary at the time. These new artists broke the “laws” of art in order to create a new style. They were called the “outlaws” of artists. These new designs not only made an artistic statement, they made a social statement. It showed the place of art in a quickly changing society.
People of this period liked to think of themselves as intellectuals. Newspapers and magazines started to censor themselves in order to sound more joyful to its readers. But in real...

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