Oliver Twist as an opinion on Victorian
This time period is considered a time of great prosperity for the arts, schools, and gave rise to political and social reform. The population of England also doubled its’ population in this Era from 16. 8 million in 1851 to 30. million in 1901. Some major social issues that were faced in the Victorian Era were: child labour, a arge lower-class, bias Justice systems, extreme sexism, and abortion. Child Labour: The Factory Acts were four major pieces of legislation, which attempted to reduce the number of working children. The five pieces of legislation were the Factory and Workshop Act of 1878; the Factory and Workshop Act of 1883; the Cotton Cloth Factories Act of 1889; The Factory and Workshop Act of 1891; and the Factory and Workshop Act of 1895.
These laws only applied to the Textile industry but were extremely comprehensive and revolutionary. The Factory Acts limited the hours women and children could work, made it illegal for children under the age of nine to ork, and created standards for factory cleanliness, and the treatment of the children in the factory children per bed, sets of clothes per child, so on and so forth. The Acts also made it mandatory to improve the safety around machines, verify ages, report deaths, and to improve the record keeping in factories.
These regulations were generally disregarded throughout industry in England; they were not fully recognized and obeyed until the early 20th century when the Crown made sure they were strictly imposed upon all businesses. Class Distinction: Victorian Society contained a formal and set social hierarchy. This rigid and defined social structure was a vicious cycle where the poor became poorer and the rich continued to be rich. This ever-widening gap led to several riots, which formed after what is called Bloody Sunday, the Trafalgar square Riot in the summer of 1887. Trafalgar square was a rallying point for protests by London’s poor.
The then Commissioner Sir Charles Warren was scared that this would lead to mob involvement. He banned protests in the square mid-November, but the Social Democratic Federation and Irish National League did not recognize his decision regardless of the 2,000 plus police posted at the square. Three people were killed and skirmishes continued through to December of that year. This shows how oppressed the poor were, a peaceful protest against economic hardship resulted in the peoples’ own government attacking them. The government did not help the poor of England financially or socially.
The British parliament viewed them as scum and wanted to “reform” them by sending them to labour camps where they could be taken advantage of as unpaid labourers. Social Classes: The class system from the end of the Victorian Era was starting to wane in its’ importance to the public, but was sill widely recognized and upheld by all members f society. The Edwardian Era saw rise to an increased need for workers. When child labor laws were implemented near the end ot the Victorian Era employers could no longer rely on child workers and had to look for other options to fill the growing demand for labourers.
This led to the involvement of women in the workplace, and overall an increase in the middle-class as steady employment became attainable. Slide Six: Sexism Women were often oppressed in the home and seen as sub par to men. The Industrial Revolution changed the role of middle-class women, making it acceptable to take low paying factory Jobs. Women had strict dress codes at the time as to what was appropriate to wear and when. Woman’s suffrage was far away from the public discussion; this did not change until the end of the Victorian era.
John Stuart Mill and his amendment proposal for the Reform Act created the suffrage movement, his actions created a rise in suffrage movements and groups, which culminated into the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Slide Nine: Women’s Rights Sexism was widespread at the start of the Edwardian Era. Women were frowned upon working outside of the home and would only receive 40-60% of the wages their male counterparts earned. Women could not hold any financial assets if they were married.
This reliance on males often led to unhappy marriages in the middle and lower-classes, where women were deficiently fed and severely malnourished, as their children and husbands would receive more clothes, food, and etcetera. Progress was made though; clothing restrictions were eased in the Edwardian Era. The Women’s Social and Political Union was formed to gain voting rights in England similar to those in the United States and Australia. These movements ended when the war era started, it led to a different view of women and a change in the role they lay in society as a whole. It is largely considered the end of widespread female oppression.
Slide Eight: Abortion Abortion helped mainly working-class women to avoid poverty and unemployment. As abortion became more prevalent in the English Society, this increased use led to smaller families. Abortion is the most controversial use of contraception because it is the killing of a baby, at this time the subject was taboo at best. It was widely used because of its’ ease of use, but could easily kill if performed incorrectly. An estimated 10-15,000 abortions were carried out every year in the Victorian Era. One in every five women who had an abortion died as a result of that abortion in the 19th century.
These abortions were paid for entirely by the patient and would cost approximately 5% of a lower-class members’ annual wages. Any person could have an abortion regardless of circumstances, as long as they had the money to pay the doctor. Bias Justice System Strict punishment was enforced in London, the number of arrests quadrupled from 1800 to 1840 (5,000-20,000). The use of Juries was almost unheard of; a Judge gave out most of the sentences. Court dates were scheduled for as little as five minutes to entence a person. The ruling elite usually had a cast, or sway over Judges and proceedings and could often influence decisions.
All disputes in the early Victorian era were left to the victim to investigate and prosecute; the law was not involved in proceedings until the victim brought the matter to court. There were many punishments for convicts found guilty of crime in Victorian society. Prisons were less common than work camps and many convicts were transported to colonies to serve their sentences. Harsh punishments were otten given to these convicts it they were ot shipped off to a colony. Seventy-three crimes were punishable by death in Victorian Society, including homosexuality.
Workhouses can be likened to a concentration camp, with extreme and despicable work conditions, no pay, and little food. A whopping 12% of convicts who entered into these houses died while incarcerated. Modern Society: The Modern Era is said to have started after World War Two and continues to the present times. There have been many shifts in thinking and social structure from the Victorian Era to modern times, mainly the change in restriction culturally imposed upon people. Major changes include the abolishment of child labour, the erosion of class distinction, and lessening use of sexism.
T Child Labour: Child Labour is no longer in use today in London. This is because of the Schooling Act of 1870 and the events, which led to expanding of the number of children in school to the current situation. Children legally have to stay in school until they are 16 under the Education and Skills Act of 2008. You can only leave then if under apprenticeship. Society has changed in the way that it functions. Many of the Jobs in todays market are less labour intensive and more mentally exerting. Because of the nature of the economy has changed, children stay in school so that they will be able to integrate into the workforce.
This is instead of entering into the workforce at young ages because the very core of the economy has been transforming. Computers and machines now preform many labourious tasks. Even though children in England are not working many of the products sold by transnational corporations are made using child labour. Apply, Nike, Reebok, Victoria’s Secret, and Toys R’ Us all admit to using child labour. Child labour is widely used in third world countries, particularly in Asia o created mass produced products at cheap prices.
Workers are still exploited today but the issue has Just transferred from first world countries to third world countries. This issue has changed shape and face, but is still present. Strict Classes: Britain is no longer held hostage by a strict class system. Multiculturalism and an integrated economy have eroded this system. People still refer to themselves as lower, middle, and upper class, but today these things are not what defines a person. Life as a whole has changed with London’s status as an epicenter for multiculturalism.
This diversity has helped to abolish much of the egotistical views about class and its’ importance. Sexism: Sexism has widely been abolished in modern day England. Although there are still sporadic comments made from time to time, the gender bias country has been immensely changed. The oppression women faced was widely eradicated in the era of the First World War. Women took on many Jobs and roles in the economy, which were thought to be male oriented, this increased support for the suffrage movement. Today gender equality is considered the normal for society Abortion:
Abortion has become less readily available and even more controversial since the Victorian Era. The Abortion Act of 1967 makes abortion in England legal only for: rape, for maternal life, health reasons, mental health reasons, socioeconomic factor as well as it the tetus nas birth detects. Abortions atter 26 weeks are illegal. Regardless ot class, or economic means you are held to these laws. This is unlike Victorian Society, where every person had access to these services regardless of circumstance or situation. Abortion has been restricted and is now better regulated and practiced then in the Victorian period.
Justice System: The Justice system of modern day England is not close to the one that was in effect in Victorian times. The overall style of court and its’ proceeding have not been changed fundamentally, they have Just been made public. In the Victorian Era it was common that if the victim was not an upper-class citizen they had to collect evidence and schedule a trial themselves. Today the government of England is heavily involved in the law, all adult trials are public, and victims are no longer required to research and create their trials. Overview: Overall society has relaxed its’ rules and regulation.
Status may not be as important but citizens have lost a lot their personal of privacy in the process. Sexuality is not as intimate or taboo as in Victorian times, court is now public, and a strict class system no longer inhabits England, Sexism is rare and gender based oppression is unheard of in modern society. On a whole English culture has shifted its’ values and views to become a more open, public, and generally accepting society. Note: The on the last slide is a word collage of the script, the more often a word is used the bigger it appears, notice it is also in the shape of the United Kingdom.