The Victorian Period
The Victorian Age was a time of great change in both Great Britain and the United States. Changes occured quickly in all areas of the society. Both countries were rapidly changing from agriculture to an industrial society. These changes influenced the attitudes and values of the emerging soceity.
In 1837, William IV died and his heir was his niece, Victoria. Queen Victoria ruled for 64 years and her reign was so outstanding it became known as the "Victorian Era". Victoria interferred very little in the government and allowed the prime minister a free hand. Two outstanding prime ministers were William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli showed great interest in foreign affairs and the expansion of the British Empire. Gladstone led Parliament to make social reforms such as the Education Act of 1870 which created a national elementaty education system. He also helped pass bills which gave voters a secret ballet. Also the vote was given to more people by lowering the property qualifications for voting.
The repeal of the Corn Laws was a step toward improving the economic situations. Grain could now be imported into Britain tax free. This was a first step toward free trade. The Industrial Revolution was driven forward by the invention of the steam engine. It provided a source of power that didn't depend on human muscle, wind or moving water. Goods could more quickly be produced. New industries sprang up as people applied the steam engine to new uses. Electrical power and the internal combustion engine joined the steam engine, and later the telephone, automobile, and radio became available to citizens of industrialized countries. More jobs became available in cities and middle class grew. Life of middle class and working class was very different. There was a big defference in economic comfort between the two classes.
In 1859, Charles Darwin published his theory on evolution. Many people believed that this theory contradicted the story...