The quality of political debate in Victorian Britain, in newspapers and in both houses of parliament, was also very high. The struggle for political supremacy between William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli in the late 1860s and 1870s represents perhaps the most sophisticated political duel in the nation's history.
During the Victorian era, then, the United Kingdom could plausibly be considered as the world's superpower. However, Germany and the United States had already begun to surpass its industrial capacity and Germany's naval build-up would shortly present a powerful challenge to long-held British supremacy.
The word ‘occult’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as; ‘Not apprehended, or not apprehensible, by the mind; beyond ordinary understanding or knowledge; abstruse, mysterious; inexplicable.’ And it is with this definition that we will gain an understanding of the Victorians interest in occultism, and the very different ways in which these interests were shared by female spiritualists, as well as those whom had been left spiritually bereft by the work of Charles Darwin, and the scientific thinkers of the day who believed that their work was for the greater good of humanity....
Miss Crawley’s blatant disregard for the poor, in addition to her zealous behavior, would normally be shunned in Victorian society, but because of her status, her irate behavior is overlooked....
On the home front, the nation was only beginning to get to grips with widespread poverty while considerably more than half the adult population remained without a vote. Victorian supremacy by 1901 was only skin deep.
Victoria came to the throne during the early, frenetic phase of the world's first industrial revolution. Industrialisation brought with it new markets, a consumer boom and greater prosperity for most of the propertied classes.
The Victorians wrestled with this schizoid legacy of industrialism. The Victorian town symbolised Britain's progress and world pre-eminence, but it also witnessed some of the most deprived people, and depraved habits, in the civilised world.
Death rates in Britain as a whole remained obstinately above 20 per thousand until the 1880s and only dropped to 17 by the end of Victoria's reign.
One has only to walk along Liverpool's waterfront and view the exceptional 'Three Graces', (the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Royal Liver and Cunard buildings) planned and erected in the decade or so after Victoria's death, to understand the centrality of commerce and overseas trade in making Britain the world's greatest power during the 19th century.
Life expectancy at birth, in the high 30s in 1837, had crept up to 48 by 1901. One of the great scourges of the age - tuberculosis - remained unconquered, claiming between 60,000 and 70,000 lives in each decade of Victoria's reign.
Within the Victorian period, there were many successes, including inventions such as the first public railway link between the coal mines of Darlington and the port of Stockton; this was built by an engineer named George Stevenson....
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Prominent, among many other successful women of the Victorian age who departed from their usual roles assigned in the hierarchy of society were Florence Nightingale, Madam Curie and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
A Victorian woman not only had to worry about being everything that is feminine but she also was burdened with ludicrous ideas about her health and sexuality.
The Victorian era saw considerable expenditure on monuments to civic pride. The competitive ethic which drove so much business enterprise was channelled by local worthies into spending on opulent town halls and other civic buildings.