The Victorian Age: The Historical Background Of The Victorian Period

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The Victorian Age The Historical Background Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901 is Britain’s second longest reigning monarch, after the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. During her reign, Britain became the most powerful nation in the world and its empire grew to cover as much as one quarter of the earth surface. During this wealthy period, untroubled even by the revolutions affecting a great part of Europe, Britain was characterized by optimism, respectability and modernity, with a feeling of pride and patriotism growing in every social class. While manufacturing and industries kept growing, the Enclosure Acts and the Corn Laws caused problems in agriculture and high prices, forcing therefore people to continue migrating in the hope of a improved life but causing dramatic social consequences instead; by the last decade of the 19th century, for the first time, England had more urban than rural dwellers. Industries employed large numbers of people, but still in extreme working conditions with few to no rights and towns became associated with illnesses, drink and prostitution. At the same time, thanks to the work of philosophers and writers like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, attention was drawn to injustices and inequalities in the society and important social reform introduced. John Stuart Mill was a philosopher and social reformer who campaigned for votes for women and liberalism; he is one of the founders of the utilitarian society. Utilitarianism is a
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