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  • "Victorian Era"

The ostentatious nature of the Victorian's age was reflected in their elaborate dress, architecture and etiquette. Members of Victorian society kept busy with parties, dances, visits, dressmakers, and tailors. Keeping track of what other people in your social class were doing was also a full-time occupation. Victorian society could be quite pleasant, but only depending on your financial status. Class still plays a subversive role in British society: then it was all-powerful.

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The Victorian age was not one, not single, simple, or unified, only in part because Victoria's reign lasted so long that it comprised several periods. Above all, it was an age of paradox and power. More than anything else what makes Victorians Victorian is their sense of social responsibility.

Queen Victoria

The Victorian Era was defined by the rule of Queen Victoria from June 1837 until her death in January 1901; the figurehead of a vast empire. She oversaw vast changes in British society and gave her name to an age that saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture.

Social Institution

The term is somewhat unclear both in ordinary language and in the philosophical literature. Typically, contemporary sociologists use the term to refer to complex social forms that reproduce themselves such as governments, the family, human languages, universities, hospitals, and legal systems.

Paradoxical Age

The term Victorian conveyed connotations of "prudish," "repressed," and "old fashioned." Although such associations have some basis in fact, they do not adequately indicate the nature of this complex age. Victorian, in other words, can be taken to mean parent of the modern.

A flourishing Britain gained a dominant world position, in which industries boomed and the British Empire held sway over one quarter of the world's population. At its peak, it was the largest empire in history, controlling more land mass than even the Mongol empire centuries before it.

Britain in the Victorian era saw a dramatic increase in forms of entertainment. Blood sports such as cock fighting and bear baiting became outlawed, and with the enhancement of rail links, seaside visits became more commonplace.

Queen Victoria is associated with Britain's great age of industrial expansion, economic progress and, especially, empire. At her death, it was said, Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set.

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