Presentation on theme: "The Victorian Period (1833-1901). Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years. Britain’s economy boomed and there was great optimism in the country. Factories."— Presentation transcript:
Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years. Britain’s economy boomed and there was great optimism in the country. Factories and towns grew into large cities. Two distinct classes – industrial class and modern-middle class. Military power increased – primarily the navy – which afforded them new colonies in distant lands.
May have seemed good on the outside, but all was NOT “right with the world” (Browning) in Victorian England. Writers exposed brutal factory conditions and stinking slums. Victorian reformers had great faith that they could make all right in the future. Victorian leaders took steps to expand democracy and improve conditions for the poor.
Domestic politics – trade policy and electoral reform. Food import was discouraged which helped keep food prices high and landlords and land owners in power. Because of the famine in Ireland, reform came in 1846 which repealed the Corn Laws – allowing free trade.
There was a burning desire to strengthen democracy. “People’s Charter” written by William Lovett demanded universal suffrage for all males, not just the wealthy and middle class. The reform was passed in 1867 which added 938,000 voters to the population.
Reform also included Women’s right to attend university Reduced work day for women and children Free grammar school Trade unions Public sanitation Regulation of factories and houses This was only the start!
Imperialism: the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies – dictionary.com Many arguments were made for this, including: Cornering the market on trade Offering a home to English settlers Having the advantage over European rivals The belief that white, Christian, progressive civilizations were dominant. The Britons could descend on other non- Westerners and offer assistance – Many people sincerely believed this!
The Victorian years were mostly peaceful. The Crimean War (a peninsula in southern Russia) was the only war fought during this era – in an effort to thwart Russian expansion. This war is mainly remembered today for the valiant efforts of Florence Nightingale – a military nurse regarded as the founder of modern nursing. Also for a famous charge called the Britain’s Light Brigade.
This battle charge was commemorated in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem: “Theirs not to make reply,/ Theirs not to reason why,/ Theirs but to do and die …”
Liberals (formerly Whigs) advocated to limit British rule – however the empire continued to grow. Britain acquired Hong Kong from China in 1842 1858 Britain took direct control of India In the last three decades of Victoria’s rule, they expanded their influence in Africa and gained control of the Suez Canal in Egypt and acquired territories like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Deep confidence in humanities ability to better itself. Changes in the industrial revolution brought conflicting feelings among Victorian thinkers. They liked the benefits industrialization had brought but… They deplored the brutality of factory life. The debate was whether business should be allowed free rein or whether, for the welfare of the people, the government should take a strong role in the economy.
Victorians grappled with religious and philosophical issues as well and the social implications of modern life. The theory of evolution by Charles Darwin stirred bitter controversy. (Natural Selection)( Some thought that Darwin’s theory was a direct challenge to Biblical truth and traditional religious faith. Others reconciled their faith with scientific insights.
Romantics continued to influence Victorian writers. Romanticism was now a part of mainstream culture. Realism focused on ordinary people facing ordinary problems of life – the emphasis was on a growing middle-class audience for literature. Naturalism – A related movement which sought to put the scientific spirit of observation to literary use. Naturalists crammed their novels with the gritty details – sour smells of poverty, the harsh sounds of factories – they often promoted social change.
Rather than embracing the “real” life as the advocates of Realism did – the Pre-Raphaelites rejected the ugliness of industrial life. They turned to the spiritual intensity of medieval Italian art, the art before the time of the painter Raphael (1483-1520)