Monday, 13 March 2017
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
The Reform Bill of 1832 gave the middle class the political power it needed to strengthen the economic position it had already achieved. Industry and commerce flourished. While the wealth of the middle class increased, the lower classes, thrown off their land and into the cities to form the great urban working class, lived ever more miserably. The social changes were so fast and brutal that intellectuals rapidly gave way to attempts either to justify the new economic and urban conditions, or to change them. The artists of the age had to deal in some way with the upheavals (=disorders) in society, the evident injustice of affluence (=wealth) for a few and squalor for many, and, emanating from the throne of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), an emphasis on public rectitude and moral propriety.