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Life During The Victorian Era

April 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Education

Every country has its own history that defines its past and shapes the future and Britain is not exempted. The Victorian Era (VE) refers to a period in the British history when Queen Victoria reigned over the land. The exact period runs from the 20th day of June, 1837 when the queen started reigning until when she died on the 22nd day of January 1901. The era was a long period characterized by refined sensibilities, prosperity, peace, and national self-confidence for the British kingdom.

In literature and social history, Victorianism studies late-Victorian cultures and attitudes with focus being given to the exceedingly moralistic behavior and the straitlaced language. This era came after the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period. A rough overlap occurred between the latter half of the VE and former portion of Belle Epoque period in continental Europe.

Peak power was attained by Britain during the long reign of Queen Victoria. Some of the areas in which peak power was attained include politics, culture, economy, and diplomacy. The second British Empire expanded a lot and no major wars were fought at the time. The term golden years have often been used by researchers to characterize the middle years of the VE. Per capita incomes rose by 50 percent during the period.

Increased industrialization in the economy was the source of the continued prosperity that Britain had during the reign of Queen Victoria. Industrialization occurred in industries like machinery. Engineering, education, textiles, and export among others. British merchants made huge profits from global networks they created which allowed export of products.

There was peace abroad as well as at home. The Crimean war was the only war fought during the VE and it went on for only two years, ending in 1856. Opposition against the new social order quieted. Cooperative societies and unions were developed by the working class. Employers provided welfare service to their workers in many forms including housing, libraries, gymnasia, schools, baths, and churches.

The spirit of libertarianism filled the entire kingdom as people felt like they were totally free. The government imposed minimal restrictions and taxes were at the lowest levels. However, there were still some riots that were motivated by anti-Catholicism. Aristocracy and gentry still ruled the society. Gentry and aristocracy ruled both houses of parliament, the military, the church, and high government offices. Inheriting a title was still more prestigious than being a rich business person.

Demographic increase in Britain during this period was unprecedented. The population was 13.9 million in the year 1831 and by 1901 it had risen to 32.5 million. Britain became the first country in the world to undergo the Demographic transition as well as Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions. The Industrial Revolution impacted lives positively by increasing income and creating more jobs for the people.

Progress and science were among the many things that Victorians were impressed a lot by. They were obsessed with improving their technology. At the time, they were leading in advanced technology and engineering. They made great improvements to communication, designed and made trains and rail ways. With railways, trade and communication were greatly facilitated.

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