The Victorian Era
During the Victorian Era, social classes of England were newly reforming, and fomenting. There was a churning upheaval of the old hierarchical order, and the middle classes were steadily growing. Added to that, the upper classes' composition was changing from simply hereditary aristocracy to a combination of nobility and an emerging wealthy commercial class. The definition of what made someone a gentleman or a lady was, therefore, changing at what some thought was an alarming rate. By the end of the century, it was common that a gentleman was someone who had a liberal public (private) school education, no matter what his antecedents might be. There continued to be a large and generally disgruntled working class, wanting and slowly getting reform and change. Conditions of the working class were still bad, though, through the century, three reform bills gradually gave the vote to most males over the age of twenty-one. Contrasting to that was the horrible reality of child labor which persisted throughout the period. When a bill was passed stipulating that children under nine could not work in the textile industry, this in no way applied to other industries, nor did it in any way curb rampant teenaged prostitution. The Victorian Era was also a time of tremendous scientific progress and ideas. Darwin took his Voyage of the Beagle, and posited the Theory of Evolution. The Great Exhibition of 1851 took place in London, lauding the technical and industrial advances of the age, and strides in medicine and the physical sciences continued throughout the century. The radical thought associated with modern psychiatry began with men like Sigmund Feud toward the end of the era, and radical economic theory, developed by Karl Marx and his associates, began a second age of revolution in mid-century. The ideas of Marxism, socialism, feminism churned and bubbled along with all else that happened. The dress of the early Victorian era was similar to the the Georgian age. Women wore corsets, balloonish sleeves and crinolines in the middle 1840's. The crinoline thrived, and expanded during the 50's and 60's, and into the 70's, until, at last, it gave way to the bustle. The bustle held its own until the 1890's, and became much smaller, going out altogether by the dawning of the twentieth century. For men, following Beau Brummell's example, stove-pipe pants were the fashion at the beginning of the century. Their ties, known then as cravats, and the various ways they might be tied could change, the styles of shirts, jackets, and hats also, but trousers have remained. Throughout the century, it was stylish for men to wear facial hair of all sizes and descriptions. The clean shaven look of the Regency was out, and mustaches, mutton-chop sideburns, Piccadilly Weepers, full beards, and Van Dykes were the order of the day. Due to the lack of modern technology that we have today such as televisions and the internet, the Victorian era (the era in which Queen Victoria reigned, this was between 1837 and 1901 was renowned for famous for the short stories that the authors of the time wrote. The birth of the railway also took place during the Victorian era and as one would expect, many people used it for transportation over long distances. There were no televisions so at times of boredom and during these long train journeys the people of the time depended solely on books and short stories for entertainment. The Ghost story genre proved to be most popular amongst the Victorian people. At the beginning of the nineteenth century in Britain, religious faith and the sciences were generally seen to be in beautiful accordance. This harmony between science and faith, mediated by some form of theology of nature, continued to be the mainstream position for most men of science right up to the 1860’s, at least. But it did come under threat. Many scientists questioned the literal meaning of the Genesis and opposed to the authoritarianism of...
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