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Was Britain a Better Place by 1900 Essay

This essay covers the years 1750 to 1900. During this period, lasting and sustainable changes took place. It was a period in British history when great industrial towns and cities appeared, vaccinations meant life expectancy was risen and people where linked by roads, canals and trains, that not only went through the cities, but the countryside too. In the 1900 people where better fed and sewage systems where emplaced and the police were enforced. However some of the changes were not so good factories and a larger population where big problem at the time. This essay will argue that Britain was a better place by 1900.

The changes that took place through this period where truly revolutionary, and today’s Britain is full of reminders of this period. If you look round you will see that transport has changed dramatically, and in the 1750s it took two weeks, by road to reach Edinburgh from London, by 1900 it was much faster and it only took 9 hours by train. Also the motor cars were invented and roads were restored.

Another change that stood out was politics, because not only was it fair, but voting was made open to every man, where as in 1750 only 5% of men could vote. However women cold still not vote 1900 but in 1878 women started a movement called the suffragettes which fought for women’s rights and votes and not long after in 1919 women’s votes were aloud

Education was dramatically changed, most children in England and Wales did not go to school, very few could read and write. Only the sons of the wealthy or the clergy went to school in England. Their sisters were taught at home. However by the 1900s by 1900 many more people could read and write. School was compulsory for all five to twelve year olds for both boys and girl this made a big impact on the speed of change as more people could get job. One of the most important changes was that in the 1750s people didn’t know that germs caused disease. So if a person reached the age of one they were expected to live to the age of 40. Doctors hardly ever operated, as there was no such thing as anesthetic. The knowledge of germs causing disease was known by the 1900s and inventions such as vaccinations and antiseptic and anesthetics meant that 15 years was added on to the life expectancy of the average British citizen.

However, not all the changes have been good, for example, the change in population went up substantially in the 1750s from 7 million to 37 million meaning that jobs where hard to get and if you had nowhere to go your only option was to go to the work house.

Factories were also one of the small amount of bad changes to take place in the change from 1750- 1900. This was because factories were one of the main causes of deaths and injuries in the 1900 and there was no minimum wage or age restrictions. Factories where a common sight in the 1900s and coal cloth and iron would be made there.

Some classes were more affected than others. Wealthy land owners got richer from their farms and mines, and the middle class grew better off. They both benefitted from the new inventions and had luxuries , so life in the 1900 was much better for them. One group which was most affected by the change was the lower class as the demand for coal, iron and steel went up so did the need for more workers. The lower class where the only ones who would take the jobs at the factories and the factory was the only place who would offer a job, so the lower class had been affected the most from 1750.

In conclusion, by the 1900s I think Britain was a better place to live, because although it was better for those of a higher class. The extent of the change was so dramatic, and the sustainable and lasting changes that took place meant that this period is a time to remember. Amazing discoveries took place during 1750 and 1900. This is why I believe that Britain was a better place to live by the 1900s.


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