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Q: Social Classes- 19th century- victorian england ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Social Classes- 19th century- victorian england
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: margaret10-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 18 Dec 2004 12:47 PST
Expires: 17 Jan 2005 12:47 PST
Question ID: 444371
Describe the social classes of England in the 19th century. Who were
in the upper most classes? Was there a middle class? Who composed the
lower classes? What were the various occupations of each class? Where
were traders located in the social system? How did the upper classes
react to the lower classes? Was everyone given the right to vote and
legislate? Explain
Thank you so much!!

Request for Question Clarification by scriptor-ga on 18 Dec 2004 12:56 PST
Dear margaret10,

This looks very much like a student's assignment. Do you expect a full
essay on these questions? In that case, I must inform you that
Researchers tend to avoid such tasks. Or do you simply want useful
hints, sources and points to start with, so you can write your own


Clarification of Question by margaret10-ga on 19 Dec 2004 08:34 PST
I just want hints, sources, and points to start with
Subject: Re: Social Classes- 19th century- victorian england
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 19 Dec 2004 12:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello margaret10~

Your question is actually a series of interesting questions that could
be the subject matter of an entire book :)  However, here are the
basics, with links, so that you can explore the subject matter more
fully, on your own.

1. ?Who were in the upper most classes?? 

The upper classes (the aristocracy) were as follows: the royal family,
lords spiritual and temporal, great officers of state, and those above
the degree of baronet. Below these, baronets, knights, country
gentlemen, and others with large incomes. (p. 122, ?Everyday Life in
Regency and Victorian England,? by Kristine Hughes, Writer?s Digest

For more details about the upper class, see:

?The Aristocracy,? at Time Traveler?s Guide to Victorian Britain:

2. ?Was there a middle class?? 

Yes. The middle class was made up of factory owners, bankers,
shopkeepers, merchants, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals,
in addition to some clergymen. The ?middle class? can be divided into
sections: ?the upper middle class,? consisting of professionals (like
doctors, lawyers, and clergymen), and the ?lower middle class?
(consisting of ?self made? business men, civil servants, and the

For more information, see:

?The Middle Class? at Time Traveler?s Guide to Victorian Britain:

?Change in 19th Century Class System? at Romance Ever After:

?The Rise of the Victorian Middle Class? at the BBC:

3. ?Who composed the lower classes?? 

The British lower class was divided into two sections: ?the working
class? (laborers), and ?the poor? (those who were not working, or not
working regularly, and were receiving public charity).

For more information, see:

?The Working Class? and ?The Poor? at Time Traveler?s Guide to
Victorian Britain:

?Conditions of the Working Class and Child Labor? at

4. ?What were the various occupations of each class?? 

The royalty were rulers, and people of leisure. The upper class
avoided having any discernable occupation, although some men became
higher-ranking officials in the military, or high-ranking officials of
state. The middle class consisted of men who had professions such as
doctor, lawyer, clergy, banker, and some wealthy merchants, ship
owners, etc. The lower class contained men, women, and children
performing many types of labor, including factory workers,
seamstresses, sweepers, miners, and the like.

For more information about Victorian occupations, see:

?Victorian Occupations? at Victorian Web:

?Victorian Women?s Occupations? at

5. ?Where were traders located in the social system??  

According to ?A Treatise on the Wealth, Power, and Resources of the
British Empire? (1814), quoted on p. 122, ?Everyday Life in Regency
and Victorian England,? traders were considered ?fourth class,? or (in
other words) middle class.

6. ?How did the upper classes react to the lower classes?? 

The world of the upper class was so entirely different from that of
the lower class (they were, in a real sense, living in another world),
that among the wealthy, there was little understanding for the poor.
Because there was little understanding, there was often little
sympathy, and rarely any really meaningful attempts to make the lives
of the lower class any more pleasant.

7. ?Was everyone given the right to vote and legislate?? 

No. Women of any class were not allowed to vote, and not even all men
were allowed to vote. Just before Queen Victoria took the thrown, a
law was passed that allowed a greater number of men to vote. It
extended ?the vote to male householders paying annual rents of between
2 and 50 (depending on where they lived).? (?The Vote? at Time
Traveler?s Guide to Victorian Britain:
) There was talk of ?household suffrage,? which would give any male
head of the house the right to vote, but the upper class was fearful
of passing such a law. Still, in 1867, ?household suffrage? was
passed. By the 1870s, some British women were allowed to vote in local
elections only.

The government consisted of a ?constitutional monarchy.? Only the
royalty could rule. Other politicians come from the aristocracy. ?As
late as 1880, of 652 elected MPs, more than half ? 394 ? are nobles,
baronets and landed gentry. The unelected House of Lords is, by
definition, full of aristocrats.? (?The Aristocracy? at Time
Traveler?s Guide to Victorian Britain:

For more basic information on the topic of Victorian England?s class
system, check out:
?Victorian Flatland?? at

?The World of the Wealthy Verses the World of the Working Class? at

?Occupations? at The Victorian Web:

I hope this Answer gives you the information you need to start your
essay. However, if anything here is unclear, please don?t hesitate to
request a clarification before you rate the Answer.

Kind regards,

"19th century" England "upper class"
English ?class system? Victorian
English "middle class" "nineteenth century"
English Victorian occupations
Victorian class
Victorian England politics vote

Request for Answer Clarification by margaret10-ga on 03 Jan 2005 16:01 PST
Sorry to bother you
Just one last question:
How did the lower class react to the other classes?
Thank you so much!

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 05 Jan 2005 06:11 PST
Hi Margaret10~

Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you; I've been out of town.

Of course, like any group of individuals, reaction to the upper class
by the lower class varied; in addition, since the poor could rarely
write, their only voice came from journalists and authors who leant a
sympathetic ear to their plight. Generally speaking, Victorian
literature portrays the poor it as resenting the rich--just as they do
today. Or, it portrays the poor with a reaction of bemusement toward
the rich. Again, the life of the poor was so dramatically different
from that of the wealthy, that neither attitude is difficult to

I hope this helps,
margaret10-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00

Subject: Re: Social Classes- 19th century- victorian england
From: kriswrite-ga on 11 Jan 2005 09:04 PST
Thank you for the great rating--and the tip! I appreciate both.

Kind regards,

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