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19th Century Reforms edited by Tp from WB Phillips.

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1 19th Century Reforms edited by Tp from WB Phillips

2 Theory of Evolution Naturalist Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) Argued that all forms of life, including humans, had evolved from previous life forms Proposed that evolution comes about due to “natural selection” or “survival of the fittest” – those best suited to survive live long enough to reproduce and pass on their traits to offspring, while the “unfit” die young without reproducing

3 Response to Darwin Darwin was strongly opposed by Christian groups because his theory meant that man had evolved over millions of years rather than be created by God in a single day The evolution debate would open a new rift between science and religion that would carry over well into the twentieth century

4 Social Darwinism Some people adapted Darwin’s idea of natural selection to fit their beliefs about society – strong nations were the “fittest” and had a natural right to make war on weaker nations led to many bloody wars and to imperialism – Large corporations were the “fittest” and had a natural right to run smaller, weaker companies out of business led to dangerous monopolies – White European culture was the “fittest” and was naturally superior to all other races and nationalities Led to racism and encouraged imperialism

5 Social Changes The Industrial Revolution ended the age of “nobles and peasants” in the West The new upper class was now made up of wealthy industrialists and businessmen Growing middle-class was composed of doctors, lawyers, teachers, and “white collar” office workers The lower class was primarily “blue collar” factory workers, construction workers, and farmers

6 British Democracy In 1815: less than 5% of British citizens could vote – had to be a white adult Anglican male who owned land Additionally, the House of Lords (the nobility) could veto any bill passed by the House of Commons

7 Voting Reforms 1820s: Catholics and non- Anglican Protestants were extended the vote The Great Reform Act of 1832: – allowed any man who owned property to vote – redistributed seats in the House of Commons to more populated areas (away from rural villages and towards industrial towns and cities)

8 Further Voting Reforms 1860s: Two new political parties emerged – Conservatives (led by Benjamin Disraeli) and Liberals (led by William Gladstone) 1867: Reform bill pushed through by Disraeli extended the vote to many factory workers 1880s: Gladstone pushed through voting rights for farm workers 1911: House of Commons removed House of Lords right to veto laws

9 The Victorian Age Queen Victoria ( ) Longest reigning monarch in British history Her reign was marked by a strict morality: – People were driven by a sense of duty, thrift, honesty, & hard-work – Good manners and respectability were extremely important – Many began to believe in social reform as being the “proper” thing to do

10 Middle Class Values Parents very strict in raising their children – the “seen and not heard” philosophy Marriages were no longer arranged, but one was expected to choose a socially acceptable mate, subject to parental approval (and no “dating” took place without an adult chaperone present) Wives were expected to stay at home and manage the household, raise the children, and obey their husbands

11 Ending Slavery Many Christian groups had pushed for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire In 1833, thanks largely to the efforts of William Wilberforce, who had campaigned for abolition for nearly half a century, Parliament finally banned slavery in all British colonies

12 Limiting Capital Punishment In the early 1800s, over 200 crimes were punishable by death, including petty theft By 1850, Parliament had reduced that number to four: murder, piracy, treason, and arson Instead of death, many criminals were punished by being banished to penal colonies in Australia and New Zealand (newly discovered by Capt. James Cook in 1770) In 1868, Parliament ended public executions and outlawed imprisonment for debt

13 Labor Reforms Improvements in working conditions – laws against child labor – laws set minimum wage, maximum hours – more safety requirements in factories and mines Unions came into existence (but strikes were still illegal) Improvements in housing, education, and benefits

14 Women as Activists Women began to fight for suffrage, legalized divorce, and economic freedom for themselves Many campaigned for temperance (a ban on alcohol) Many had worked to bring an end to slavery

15 Women’s Suffrage Women tried for years to win the right to vote through protesting and public demonstrations When this failed, they turned to violence, hunger strikes, and other high-risk behaviors In 1918, Parliament finally allowed women over 30 to vote


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