Nineteenth century history and culture


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Nineteenth century history and culture

  1. 1. Nineteenth Century History and Culture
  2. 2. England in 1800 <ul><li>There were 10-12 million people in England, 1 million in London alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Other cities rose in importance as industrial or manufacturing cities: Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester. </li></ul><ul><li>Mining (coal) and textile manufacturing were the basis of the English economy. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Coal is exported via London & Liverpool, while cotton from India and the U.S. and wool from Australia are imported. </li></ul><ul><li>Shipyards thus were very important to the English economy. </li></ul><ul><li>The population shifts, therefore, to cities after 1800, replacing “cottage industries” put out of business by factories. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>75% of the population was, in 1800, functionally illiterate. </li></ul><ul><li>An overabundance of people for factory work creates a domestic service class: maids, butlers, cooks, nannies, stable workers. </li></ul><ul><li>They come very, very cheap, sometimes earning only room and board from the rising middle class. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Sons of upper class gentlemen could follow in the footsteps of their fathers. </li></ul><ul><li>Servants, though, were often “economic slaves,” trapped in the jobs they had in order to survive, because there were so many to replace them should they leave. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Lower classes were encouraged to drink: </li></ul><ul><li>The pub profession expands with upper and middle class assumption that a drunk lower class is safe. </li></ul><ul><li>Overpopulation creates a feeling of helplessness in the lower classes, and fear in the upper classes. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Therefore, upper and upper middle classes feared change – wanted to maintain the status quo. </li></ul><ul><li>They feared organization: mobs, unionizing. </li></ul><ul><li>The French Revolution, in part, is responsible for a great deal of upper class anxiety at this time – if it could happen there, people believed, it could happen here too. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Poorhouses in the 19 th century were what homeless shelters are today. </li></ul><ul><li>Orphans abounded during the 19 th century; children were often “sold” to workhouses to help support their families. </li></ul><ul><li>There was no institutional mechanism for recovering from financial or social losses. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Politics in the 19 th Century <ul><li>Tories represented Church of England loyalists, land owners, and those with inherited wealth and traceable families </li></ul><ul><li>They had roots in tradition, aristocracy: they are the party of no change. </li></ul><ul><li>Whigs were recent property owners, entrepreneurs, merchants: the middle class: the party of development and progress. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Overpopulation also created slum conditions in the cities, which in turn caused </li></ul><ul><li>-- poor sanitation </li></ul><ul><li>-- poor hygiene </li></ul><ul><li>-- unprotected urban water supplies </li></ul><ul><li>-- health epidemics </li></ul><ul><li>All of this results in a greatly divided society: the haves, and the have-nots. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Women and the 19 th Century <ul><li>The nineteenth century also had a strict sense of morality and social propriety. </li></ul><ul><li>Although this was a highly sexually active society, this fact was kept behind closed doors, not discussed publicly. </li></ul><ul><li>A woman’s virginity was her most important asset – to lose it was to lose one’s character and reputation. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Progress for Women <ul><li>The Infants Custody Act of 1839 allowed women to retain custody of their children in case of separation </li></ul><ul><li>1870-1908 several Married Women’s Property Acts were passed allowing women some legal rights to own and bequeath property in their own right. </li></ul><ul><li>There were women who attended university, and earned higher degrees. </li></ul>
  13. 13. The “Governess” Problem <ul><li>Most women, however, still inhabited separate spheres from their husbands – upper class women did not work outside of the home, and their primary job, still, was to marry well. </li></ul><ul><li>Women of the merchant and domestic servant classes could work to support themselves. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>But what of women of “gentle birth” – good family names, but no money to speak of? </li></ul><ul><li>The only “respectable” means of support for such women was to become a governess or ladies’ companion, if they didn’t marry. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Thus they were almost classless: unable to associate with those beneath them, but too low to associate with their social equals by education and birth. </li></ul><ul><li>However, most women who didn’t marry had little status, and few opportunities in 19 th century society. </li></ul>