The Victorian Age: riassunto in inglese

The Victorian Age: riassunto in inglese

The Victorian Age. 1837-1901

In this period reigned queen Victoria --> the Britain's longest reigning monarch. During the Victorian age Britain was the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. 1876: Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India.

There were general feelings of pride and patriotism and the key words for this period were: optimism, respectability and modernity.

1815: Napoleon was definitely defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, leaving Britain in a position of dominance.                                      

The growth of industry and manufacturing and the difficulties in agriculture (due to the earlier Enclosure Acts and the corn laws) forced people to migrate from the country to the towns.

By 1890 England was the first country to have more urban than rural dwellers. This intensive movement of people in such a short period of time had dramatic social consequences. Housing was scarce, badly built and sanitation practically non-existent. Working conditions were also extreme because workers had few rights. Towns became associated with illness, drink and prostitution.  The doctrine of "laissez-faire" was sacrosanct, so there was little or no state interference in the lives of individuals (this principle was defended by John Stuart Mill).

In this period a social conscience was forming, and some intellectuals and philosophers drew attention to the injustices and inequalities in society and many important social reforms were introduced.

John Stuart Mill: He campaigned for votes for women and liberalism. He was one of the founders of the utilitarian society.

Utilitarianism: a philosophy which attempts to answer the question "what distinguishes a good or bad action in our society?". The answer is: the consequences that an action produces. A good action produces happiness and pleasure, a bad action produces pain.

In the Victorian Age there were two political parties: the Whigs, known as Liberal party (leaders-->Lord Palmerson and William Gladsone), and the Tories, known as Conservative party (leaders-->Sir Robert Peel and Benjamin Disdraeli).

Chartism: The working class demand more rights, especially the right to vote. The workers began to organize themselves into a movement to demand the vote for all men  Chartism.  1884: the third reform bill gave the right to vote to all male workers- labourers, farmers and miners. 1918: the right to vote was extended to all men, regardless of their occupation.

Religion in the Victorian period became an extremely complex issue, one of controversy, doubt and uncertainty for many Victorians, this was also due to the progress in science which challenged the Christian representation of the universe. (Darwin with his discoveries increased this doubts).