The early Victorian Age: summary

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The early Victorian Age summary - The early Victorian Age
Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837.

She was 18 years old and was guided by her statesmen. In 140 she married Prince Albert, and they had nine children.
The aristocratic Whig politicians in the 1830s had succeeded in making laws which kept them in power avoided political revolution. They gave the vote to the middle class in the first Reform Act. They reformed social and economic conditions in the Factory Act and Ten Hours’ Act.

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The former prevented children from being employed more than 48 hours a week and said no person under eighteen could work more than 69 hours a week. The workhouses were established by the Poor Law Amendment Act.
There the poor had to give up their family life in return for basic support in these institutions. The idea was that workhouses were deliberately unpleasant so that the poor would try to do better, helping themselves instead of relying upon welfare. Self-help was very important and was very good to be a ‘self-made man’.

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Religion was a strong force in this period. In industrial areas the non-conformist churches remained strongest and encouraged study and abstinence from alcohol.
Moreover during this period there was a political crisis, in fact the industrial middle-class resented the dominance of agriculture; so the ‘Corn Law’ movement was successful when Prime Minister Robert Peel was forced to free the price of corn in 1846 because of the Irish potato famine.
Then, in the 1867, there was the second Reform Act, which gave the vote to skilled working men.

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During the Victorian Age, there were also a lot of improvements in the transport field, for example.
The building of London Underground began in 1854 and the railways started to transform the landscape and people’s lives. They transported large quantities of raw materials and products quickly and cheaply; people were able to travel for work and leisure and the middle classes could live in the suburbs instead of the crowded town centres.