Victorian Age

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The Victorian Age
1832-1900
Even idleness is eager now, eager for
amusement; prone to excursion-trains, artmuseums, periodical literature, and exciting novels. (George Eliot)

General Info About the Time
• Enormous changes occurred in
political and social life in England and
the rest of the world
• The scientific and technical
innovations of the Industrial
Revolution, the emergence of modern
nationalism, and the European
colonization of much of Africa, the
Middle East, and the Far East
changed most of Europe
• Far-reaching new ideas created the
greatest outpouring of literary
production the world has ever seen

A Time of Change
• London becomes most important city in Europe
• Population of London expands from two million to
six million
• Shift from ownership of land to modern urban
economy
• Impact of industrialism
• Increase in wealth
• World’s foremost imperial power
• Victorian people suffered from anxiety, a sense of
being displaced persons in an age of technological
advances.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)
Reign: 1837-1901
• The longest reign in British history
• Became queen at the age of 18;
graceful and self-assured & had a gift
for drawing and painting
• Throughout her reign, she maintained
a sense of dignity and decorum that
restored the average person’s high
opinion of the monarchy after a series
of horrible, ineffective leaders
• 1840-Victoria married a German
prince, Albert, who became not king,
but Prince-consort
• After he died in 1861, she sank into a
deep depression and wore black every
day for the rest of her life

The Growth of the British Empire
• England grew to become the greatest nation on
earth
• Empire included Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa,
Kenya, and India
• England built a very large navy and merchant
fleet (for trade and colonization)

• Imported raw materials such as cotton and silk
and exported finished goods to countries around
the world
• By the mid-1800s, England was the largest
exporter and importer of goods in the world. It
was the primary manufacturer of goods and the
wealthiest country in the world
• Because of England’s success, they felt it was
their duty to bring English values, laws, customs,
and religion to the ―savage‖ races around the
world

The Early Victorian Period
1830-1848
• In 1830, the Liverpool and
Manchester Railway opened, the
first public railway line in the
world.
• By 1850, railway lines connected
England’s major cities
• By 1900 , England had 15,195
lines of railroad and an
underground rail system beneath
London.
• The train transformed England’s
landscape, supported the growth
of commerce, and shrank the
distance between cities.

The Industrial Revolution
• Factory systems emerged
• The shift in the English economy moved
away from agriculture and toward the
production of manufactured goods
• Great Exhibition of 1851-Prince Alberthoused in the Crystal Palace (made of glass and iron) exhibited hydraulic
presses, locomotives, machine tools,
power looms, power reapers, and
steamboat engines

The Crystal Palace
• Erected to display the exhibits of modern

industry

and

science

at

the

1851

Great

Exhibition
• One of the first buildings constructed according
to modern architectural principles

• The

building

symbolized

Victorian industry

the

triumphs

of

Social and Political Reform
• 1832-First Reform Act-extended the vote
to most middle-class men
• 1833-Britain abolished slavery/Factory
Act-regulated child labor in factories
• 1834-Poor Law-Amendment applied a
system of workhouses for poor people
• 1871-Trade Union Act-made it legal for
laborers to organize to protect their rights

The Reform Bill of 1832
• Transformed English
class structure
• Extended the right to
vote to all males owning
property
• Second Reform Bill
passed in 1867
• Extended right to vote
to...
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