Eminent Victorians Historical Context

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Britain in the Late Victorian Era

In 1885, Britain was entering the final quarter of the Victorian Era (1837-1901). In that year, General Gordon was killed at Khartoum, seventyeight- year-old Cardinal Manning was at the height of his prestige, sixty-five-year-old Florence Nightingale was still working on the humanitarian causes in which she believed—and five-year-old Strachey was about to attend the Hyde Park Kindergarten and School in London.

For Britain, this was a time of both progress and unrest at home, and imperial expansion abroad. From 1884 to 1885, the structure of Britain's modern parliamentary democracy took shape. The Reform Act of 1884 extended the franchise to all working men (women, however, did not receive the vote until 1918), and the Redistribution Act of 1885 created parliamentary constituencies of roughly equal size. These reforms were passed during the second administration of prime minister William Ewart Gladstone, one of the greatest statesmen of the...

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Eminent Victorians from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.