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The Victorian Age

The victorian age was characterized by changes, progress and developments. England had also a big empire; they considered themselves superior and they used colonies to have resources and labour.

Social Classes

During this period of time the stratification of the society changed. the middle class had been divided into three sub-strata: lower-middle class( shopkeepers) , mid-middle class ( factory owners ) and upper middle class ( doctors and lawyers ).

The Victorian Compromise

This age was characterized by lots of contradictions, the "victorian compromise". We can see it in different aspects of life, for example faith and science, industrialization and desire to return to nature, liberalism and horrible conditions of the working class and then in the middle class. In fact the middle class was characterized by a specific morality, but they were also corrupted and they lived a double life. During the day they were perfect men and they followed specific rules of behavior based on hard work, respectability and charity. Instead during the night they had a completely different life.

Family

The family was the most important bond in the victorian society. Families were numerous, fathers tried to preserve the whole family working hard every day. Mothers were subordinated and their unique roles were to procreate and control the house. Children were often exploited and obliged to work in mines or other places in horrible conditions also when it was not necessary. They worked hours without a break and they often became ill or died young.

The Workhouses

Workhouses were special structures controlled by parishes where were sent poor people, old or sick people or children. In these houses people were divided into three different groups: people unable to work because sick or too old; people able to work but unemployed; children. Men and women were divided too, so family were completely separated. the conditions were horrible: people had only a meal a day plus two soups, they had to wear a uniform, they were obliged to work and they lived in unhygienic conditions. people had to stay there since they would have shown that they were able to preserve themselves and their families. This because victorians thought that poverty was a consequence of laziness and the horrible conditions would inspire poor to improve their own conditions.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a philosophy which attempts to answer the question: "what distinguishes a good or a bad action?" Utilitarians look at the consequences of their actions: an acion is morally right if its consequences lead to happiness, and it is morally wrong if it ends in pain. The aim of every society should be to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. In this way, an innocent person should be punished if many people gained from this. The founder of this philosophy was John Stuart Miller. As far as education, utilitarians believe in a mechanical way of learning based on memory.

Education

During the Victorian age there were also reforms in the field of education. elementary education had been re-organized. despite that, education continued to be one of the problems. Poor children couldn't study, rich children studied with private tutors and children form the middle class went to public or private schools. Yet teachers were often incompetent and not prepared and they used corporal punishment to make children maintain discipline.

Great Exhibition

The great exhibition of the works of industry of all nations was the first universal exhibition. it took place in 1851 in the Crystal palace in Hyde park, a prefabricate in glass and iron built by Joseph Paxton. During this exhibition goods from all over the english empire were shown. in this way England could show its superior position in the world as far as industry and progress.

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