• The Victorians were great moralizers
they supported: personal duty, hard work, decorum, respectability, chastity, charity.
• ‘Victorian’, synonymous with prude, stood for extreme repression; even furniture legs had to be concealed under heavy cloth not to be ‘suggestive’.
• New ideas were discussed and debated by a large part of society.
• The powerful middle-class was obsessed with gentility, decorum.
a. Victorian private lives were dominated by an authoritarian father.
b. Women were subject to male authority; they were expected to marry and make home a ‘refuge’ for their husbands.
Currents of thoughts.
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), philosopher.
• legislation should try to help men develop their natural talents
• progress came from mental energy
• supported popular education, trade union organisation, extension of representation to all citizens, and the emancipation of women
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), theorist.
• neglected human and cultural values
• any problem could be overcome by reason
• usefulness, happiness, avoidance of pain
John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism.
• strict code of behaviour
• dedication to humanitarian causes and social reforms
• base of Victorian emphasis upon moral conduct