Expand your U.K. IQ A period of great social change
October 10, 2007
The Victorian era (1837-1901) has its charming row homes and puritanical sensibilities. The Georgian era (1714-1830) is noted for the American Revolution, the birth of democracy in the former colonies and the Industrial Revolution.
Less well-known and certainly a shorter duration, the Edwardian period (1901-1914) was also noteworthy in its own right, most notably for the rise of women’s rights and the importing of American-style photojournalism that focused on the plight of the poor.
While King Edward VII died in 1910, the period named for his reign extended through the start of World War I, according to Cambridge University history professor Lucy Delap, who teaches at Catharine’s College.
“The whole idea of women’s suffrage and the suffragettes became very much entrenched in the Edwardian period,” Delap said. “Women used spectacular tactics to garner publicity for their cause.”
The work of women in Britain inspired their contemporaries in the United States, where women also took to the streets demanding equality.
The Edwardian period was also characterized by the import of American-style “yellow” journalism, also known as muckraking. In England, the focus was on the very poor.
The work of British journalists and, more notably, photojournalists, to document the horrendous living conditions of Britain’s poor led to social changes that include school lunches for children and pensions for older people, Delap said.
“It was a period when America and Britain influenced each other in very interesting ways that had lasting impacts for each country,” she said.
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