19th Century – Good?

  • Category: History
  • Words: 527
  • Grade: 70
"The 19th Century was a Wonderful Century" ~ was it?

There are two responses to this statement; one being "yes, I agree with that" and the other is "that's preposterous!" I, myself, am torn between the two. On the one hand there were great inventions and independence for women, and yet on the other hand there was poverty and the set up of slave trades.
Along with the 19th century came scientific discoveries. One of the first inventions was a new type of high-pressure engine. The inventor, Richard Trevithick, used his engine to drive the first ever steam locomotive! The wealthy, including business and professional people became wealthier; they lived in large mansions, ate a wider variety of foods as it became available to buy, due to imports from other countries brought together as parts of the British Empire. Rich Victorian children were well educated. Women were finally begun to be thought of as equals, although it is nothing like equality among the genders today "“ the 21st century "“ it was a large step up for women, and helped to bring us to where we are today. As it was just the beginning of the Women's Right's movement, not everyone was entirely happy about it, including some women:
        "We do not want to turn women into men, nor to see them doing men's work"
                        ~ Emily Faithfull (1863)
As not all people were against Women's Rights, some of the laws were suspended, and new ones were passed. The law previously stating that "˜once a woman was married all her rights to her own property and money were lost' was eventually changed so that "˜married women were allowed to save/spend money they earned (passed in 1878) and keep control over any property in their name (passed in 1882)' due to the endless campaigns held by women.

However, life was not that great for everyone. Many workers lost their jobs as they were replaced by machinery. It seemed that people were no longer important as the new inventions could do what they did, but better, quicker and the machines didn't require a salary!
There were complaints that people were becoming greedy due to the amount of freedom that was waved in front of their faces. People were thought to be hoarding over material possessions and using them in impractical ways.
"Overtaken by power, by possessions and great new freedoms, and unable to make any civilised use of them all"
                ~ H.G. Wells
The British were overpowered by the thought that people living in countries in the British Empire, natives, were inferior as they did not live life in the same way as them. Natives were thought to be inferior
        "An average negro is about as equal to that of a European child of 10-years old"
                        ~ G.A. Henry (1884)
With the Empire came benefits, the British thought that they were given more responsibilities, especially as they felt that they had to make the European lands they ruled civilised, like them.
There were also "˜fights' against Britain and the United States of America and Germany, who by the late 19th century, competed against one another as the world's leading raw materials output-ers and manufactured goods, for example coal, iron, steel and cotton cloth
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