Britain during the 19th century, overview of the Industrialization

Essay by robichou March 2006

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The strengh of the British system of government has always been his ability to stifle any danger of revolution through many reforms. During the 20th century, Britain was the model of liberalism.

Britain was a constitutional monarchy where the power of the king was restricted by the parliament (Lord and commons). As the country was becoming bigger (colonies) and stronger (caol and iron production) the system developped in a most democratic way.

Politicly, the country was divided into two big parts, the Liberals and the Conservatives.

During the 19th century, Britain was the most powerful country in Europe. Britain possessed the world's largest colonies protected by a strong navy. Britain's colonies covered one sixth of the world surface.

In opposition to the 20th century, in the end of the 18th, Britain was not a democratic nation. With fewer than one in eight Englishmen entitled to take part in elections, only a fraction of the people in Britain had the right to vote.

If you were a woman or working-class you were excluded from the electoral process, and so were most middle-class men. Among the elite ruling class, many were opposed to change and had no desire to alter Britain's ancient "constitution", since political reform would mean they had to give up some of their privileges. In the 19th century a series of Reform Acts were brought in, mainly entitling more men to vote, and the number of voters rose from a little more than 200,000 to over 8 million.

In the 19th century, Britain was still a very powerfull country but had gone into a relative decline face to the new German and US economy. The economy was freezing but Britain was still at the time the banking capitol of the world.

In the 1880s, problems of unemployment, urban housing,