The word "Victorian" derives from queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837 to 1901. In this period England was very rich and powerful and important social reforms for the workers were carried out, like the Mines Act that forbade the employment of women and children in mines. The Emancipation of religious sects, and the Trade Union Act, which legalized the activities of the unions of workers. However there were negative aspects, like the very big difference between the living condition of the various social classes. There was a lot of poor people that lived in urban slums sited in outskirt near the factories, in bad living conditions. The Parliament tried to resolve the problem but the new Poor Law didn't give a solution: the poor were sent to workhouses where they worked in exchange for little food. There were only two classes in Britain, rich and poor, that lived next to each other but without comunication. For this the Prime minister Benjamin Disraeli defined English society as "the two nations". Such people of different cultural sectors as the philosopher Thomas Carlyle, the economist John Stuart Mill, and the art critic John Ruskin were concerned for the problems of working class. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels gave life to revolutionary theories. But these comunist ideas didn't diffuse themselves very much because England was too capitalist and liberalist.
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Victorian Age - The Victorian Novel