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The Victorian Period, 1832 – 1901 Social Reform Comes to a Head.

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Presentation on theme: "The Victorian Period, 1832 – 1901 Social Reform Comes to a Head."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Victorian Period, 1832 – 1901 Social Reform Comes to a Head

2 Reading Review  Who was the reigning British monarch during this period?  What was the main commodity (raw material) of British Industrialization during this period?  Who wrote on The Subjection of Women?  What was the other name for the Irish Famine?  Who is considered “ the most important figure in Victorian literature ” ?  Bonus: More than one million from this country moved to England to find work and escape famine.

3 Industrialization  The creation of mechanization and the assembly line provides jobs for thousands. Horrid working conditions.  Again, increased city populations.  Failing infrastructure becomes unavoidable. Solutions sought.  Political reform demanded by the poor.

4 Colonial Power  Victoria controlled one-quarter of the Earth ’ s land mass at her height.  Growing middle class.  Imports from all continents brought colonial pride: zoos, museums, palaces.  Anglo-centered world view.

5 Women ’ s Rights  Only property-owning men could vote.  John Stuart Mill ’ s The Subjection of Women highlighted the plight of women,  Middle-class women were archetyped as wives, mothers and homemakers.  Ideals of refinement and civilization forced women into subservient roles.  Double standard: Female sexual impropriety forbidden; male sexual impropriety considered a minor (and normal) matter.

6 Women ’ s Rights "... [T]he legal subordination of one sex to another — is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a system of perfect equality, admitting no power and privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other. “ On the Subjection of Women, Chapter I (John Stuart Mill, 1869).

7 Problems Worsen  “ Hungry Forties ”  Irish potato famine  English depression  Population swells in slums  Hygiene: 2 toilets per 250 people in city slums (EOL 787).  Child labor forces children to forego childhood in pursuit of money.

8 Humanistic Worldview  Technological advancements added to the view of human power to change the world for the better of “ all. ”  Industrialization led to materialism in the middle and upper classes.  The plight of the poor and oppressed led to doubt in the existence of a “ good God ” or even God at all.  Physical needs overpowered spiritual tradition and belief in many.

9 Literary Contributions  Philosophy: highlighted Utilitarianism, Utopianism, Humanism and science.  Graphic depictions of human conditions.  Literature as a tool of reformation.  Competing ideas and philosophies.  Female authors taken more seriously.  Development of characters enhanced.

10 Questions to Consider  What were some of the barriers to women ’ s rights? What were the events that opened doors for women?  How did the poorer classes make their voices heard? In what ways were they effective? Ineffective?  What does the Victorian Period teach us about the power of the written word?


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