Victorian Britain and Industrial Revolution

Topics: Social class, Working class, Middle class Pages: 4 (1417 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Modern History assessment task 1 – Charlotte Goodman
Explain the impact of the growth of the middle class on the development of democracy in Victorian Britain. During the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837-1901 Great Britain pioneered Democracy in the industrialised world. The growing middle class demanded their rights, leading the nation into a rapid growth in Democracy. Industrialisation and urbanization fuelled the growth employment, education and literacy which improved the public’s awareness of political and social ideas in succession of reforms which began to meet the shifts in economic roles within society. Britain felt pressure to adjust to the economic and social changes of the industrial revolution, and the new trends in thinking that ran alongside it, and many reforms were introduced as a measure to insure that the political system met the demands of the powerful, ever growing middle class. Industrialisation fundamentally changed the way businesses operated and the relationship between workers and employers. Prior to industrialisation the majority of the British population belonged to a rural or urban working class, their role was to provide labour to the minority upper class which had control over the nation’s resources. The growing middle class in Victorian Britain was composed of those involved in development and control of industries and commercial ventures, as well as those in professions such as medicine and law. The rise of enterprise meant the rise of the ‘self-made man’; individuals who accumulated wealth through work, rather than being born into wealth like much of the upper class and aristocracy. There was a great upheaval of the old hierarchical order. However there was also the abuse of entrepreneurship and capitalism; the division of society into rich and poor took a new significance during the Industrial revolution and worker’s rights were lacking. Robert Owen a model factory owner in New Landmark noted that too often “the employer...
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