“The age of Victoria made Britain great and brought prosperity to all her subjects”. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Queen Victoria reign lasted sixty-three years. This was called the Victorian Era and this era played a key part in developing the British Empire and all her subjects. Many historians argue if the Victorian Era was good or bad and if events like The Opium wars and more people being able to vote made Britain great and brought prosperity to all her subjects.
This essay will answer the question: “The age of Victoria made Britain great and brought prosperity to all her subjects”. To what extent do you agree with this statement? The Industrial revolution was a point in Britain, which was supposed to make Britain able to manufacture things for themselves instead of importing products from other countries. The problem with this is that to make these products you needed a labour force which could do what you want.
Many business owners were nice to their workers like Cadbury who on June the 18th, 1878 found the ideal site for their factories to be built and their workers to live. This was called Bourneville. This shows how many of Victoria’s subjects were happy at the time because the Industrial Revolution was giving them a job, a place to live and working conditions that weren’t bad in the slightest. The only problem was there were business owners who treated their workers like slaves with little pay, bad working conditions and a high risk of death.
An example of a something like this is in 1824 when a man named Thomas Carlyle wrote this in his diary “A frightful scene …… a dense cloud of pestilential smoke hangs over it forever ……. and at night the whole region burns like a volcano spitting fire from a thousand tubes of brick. But oh the wretched thousands of mortals who grind out their destiny there! ” Thomas is talking about how the sky is foggy probably because of all the factories burning coal to power their machines and how many people work in these factories grinding their destiny away and killing them.
This shows us that other subjects of the queen thought the Industrial Revolution was a bad thing because it was destroying the environment and make the air foggy and dirty, it was killing people and limiting other’s lives further meaning some parts of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution did bring many new things to Britain like the Steam Locomotive which was built by people like George Stephenson who is said to be the ‘The Father of Railway’ and born in 1781.
The first locomotives started to appear in the early 19th century and this is probably a great example of how the Industrial revolution made Britain Great because to the people of Britain and her empire this was magic. These trains went fast and could go from London to Edinburgh in two days. Even other countries like France and Germany wanted what we had an Industrial Revolution. This shows us that what was made from the Industrial Revolution made Britain great because it made Britain a mode of transport which is still used greatly today and the subjects of Victoria liked this.
There is one downfall to this which many history books don’t tell you how this happened. For Steam Locomotives to work one big thing had to be done, Railways had to be made and put down. This meant that many labourers had to work day and night and the risk of injuring yourself or dying was great. This wasn’t only in Britain as people in South Africa and India had to do the same risk their lives for the rich and the people who could afford to be on these trains.
Most of the people who laid down these railways probably couldn’t make enough to money to go on these trains. This shows that this probably made Britain Great but did it really give prosperity to all its subjects and the answer to that it not at all as many dies and injured themselves because they had no other choice. The Luddites were a group of men who lost their jobs due to the fact that machines could do their jobs faster and machines didn’t need to be paid or don’t get ill apart from the acceptations of breaking down. These kind of Jobs were mainly like weavers.
The Luddites thought the only way to get their jobs back was to destroy these machines. The Luddites were around between 1811 and 1813 and again in 1816, but really they achieved very little and most of them were sent to prison. This shows how people didn’t like the Industrial Revolution because of their job but because they didn’t have a job. Overall the Industrial revolution only gave prosperity to the rich who owned the factories, but for the workers and labourers the Indu Revolution gave them little prosperity and more problems.
The Chartists were a group of men like the Luddites, but many historians would say they were completely different. Yes, they both wanted things to benefit themselves, but the Chartists didn’t fight or destroy everything. They made partitions for laws they wanted to pass and asked people to sign it. This actually worked and one of their main aims was called ‘six points of the people’s charter’. This was a big thing for the people because now tons more of people had the vote and could even be part of parliament and get payed.
The Chartists in the long run, but in 1848 they didn’t make any more partitions because Parliament actually looked at the names on the Partition and found out most of the people on the list didn’t actually sign the partition and the Chartists were just laughed at and they slowly disappeared. This tells us that the Chartists played a big part in making Britain great and bringing prosperity to all of Victoria’s subjects because now most men in Britain had the vote and more freedom to change their country.
This wasn’t the case for the countries of the British Empire which were not Britain because of course they were treated differently and they didn’t have much freedom to even do much politically in their own countries. In 1874 a man named Benjamin Disraeli was elected prime minister of England. Disraeli did a lot for his country and helped make Britain great by setting up many laws. His main laws were what the people of England needed to make their lives better. In 1875 the Employers and Workmen Act put employers and employees on the same legal footing.
This was a good for the average labourer because now they could do much more things politically and economically. A big law that Disraeli made was the Education Act in 1876 which encourage children to go to school. This meant children could get a good education and maybe even get their families out of poverty. Benjamin Disraeli made the poorer people of England abler to do what they want and get jobs easier showing us that Benjamin Disraeli played a part politically in making Britain great and bringing prosperity to the British people in the Victorian Era.
One of the most important cultural developments of the Victorian Era was the emergence of the modern game of football. Before the 1850s football was rough and had few rules, but in the 1850s Cambridge and Sheffield started to make more rules for the sport and in 1862 the Cambridge rules set out each team should have eleven players and in the 1860s new clubs were formed. In 1872 the first FA cup was held with fifteen teams competing. Soon the games took hold in the industrial North.
A big reason for this was the 1874 Factory Act that allowed workers to be given a half day on Saturday. This left Saturday afternoon free for leisure. This shows how in the Victorian Era a great sport was born and how workers could play that sport for their city instead of working in a Factory meaning that this sport brought prosperity to the people of Britain and even other countries in the British Empire. In 1861 Britain made a treaty with Lagos (main city in southern Nigeria).
The first article of the treaty said ‘In order the Queen of England may assist, defend and protect the inhabitants of Lagos and to put an end to the slave trade, I, Docemo, do transfer unto the Queen of Great Britain, her heirs and successors forever, the port and Island of Lagos, with all rights, profits, and revenue, freely, entirely and absolutely! This tells us that Britain is taking over Lagos and everything they earn go to the British government. Britain also passed a law in Lagos saying all able-bodied males between 15-50, and females between 15-40 are liable for labour of road making and similar work up to six days every three months.
This sounds like Britain is conquering Lagos and saying to that city they will protect them but at the same time saying for that protection you have to do as we say and anything you earn or make goes to us. This shows us that Britain conquered Lagos and made most of their citizens to manual labour at the benefit of the British meaning that this didn’t make Britain great because this is slavery and the British subjects of Lagos and other colonies which weren’t Britain where not in prosperity because there home has been conquered.
While the people in Britain thought this was a triumph for Great Britain. In 1877 the East India Company handed over India to the British and Queen Victoria was named Empress of India. This was a great for Britain because now they had control of a country which was great for trading with other countries in Asia and much more resources for Britain and her empire. Britain actually helped India very much and developed India with British culture like Cricket, the British Sterling and much more.
This shows us that the British Empire actually brought prosperity to some parts of the world because it made new jobs for people and more ways for them to be out of poverty and this made Britain great because it shows us that the British Empire aided other countries and made them just like Britain. The Opium Wars were two wars in the mid-19th century involving Anglo-Chinese disputes over British trade in China and China’s sovereignty.
The disputes included the First Opium War (1839-1842) and the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The wars and events between them weakened the Qing dynasty and forced China to trade with the rest of the world. The reason for this was because Opium was a medicine which was grown in India and is one of the ingredients of the present-day drug heroin. China did not want to trade Opium with the British Empire because it was making the Chinese people addicted and they wouldn’t go to their jobs or even be with their family.
This was making the British lose tons of money so they went to war with China and forced them to open their docks for trading Opium and other things. This shows us that the British Empire was very barbaric and forceful. This again shows us nearly slavery because the British are forcing the Chinese to do what they want and making Britain not great but barbaric and ruthless with no consideration if blood is spilt and this doesn’t bring prosperity to the people of the British Empire but horror and doubt if they are actually doing the right thing taking over these countries.
In conclusion, the age of Victoria did make Britain great and bring prosperity to all her subjects if they were rich because then they could make money from the factories and mines they owned or the cities they owned in other countries and all the resources they could deprive from those cities. While for the poor they had to work in these mines and factories with minimum pay and a high chance of death or the people from other countries who lives were destroyed by the British conquering their homes and forcing them to do what they wanted like build roads, railways and even big houses/ palaces.