AQA English Lit - Theme: Empire

Overview of context (A04) and links to wider reading (A03) for the theme of Empire.

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  • Created on: 14-05-13 16:06
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Empire in the Victorian Era
Prime Ministers
The two key Prime Ministers within the Victorian Era was Gladstone and Disraeli.
Gladstone was prime minister four times and he felt that the costs war has on
citizens and the government, should be enough to act as a deterrent for war. He was
strongly against British Imperialism and wanted to give the Irish selfgovernment. He
strongly believed in supporting charities, even when it exposed him to ridicule, and
spent forty years dedicated to helping women quit prostitution.
Disraeli (prime minister twice) had opposing views to Gladstone, he believed strongly
in imperialism and always attempted to extend the British Empire. It was on his
decision that Queen Victoria became empress of India, which not only gained him
favour with the royal family but also allowed control over India. Disraeli was often
criticised for some of his views.
Imperialism
Britain was an imperialistic country, meaning they had the policy of extending the rule
or authority of the British empire, over foreign countries. An example of this, would be
when Queen Victoria was made empress of India, Britain effectively took control and
extended it's authority. (This was otherwise known as the British Raj)
Countries within the British Empire were painted red on the map, and they included
India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. Britain was acquiring the
largest empire in the world in 1882. It extended over onefifth of the world's surface
and had a quarter of the world's population.
AntiSlavery Movement
Slavery was a big part of the early Victorian Era, the British would send over high
quality goods to swap for slaves by the African Chiefs. These slaves were then often
sold to the West Indies or America, which made huge economical gains for Britain.
Men who owned the plantations in the West Indies formed a political group, opposing
the abolition of slavery of which a voluntary organisation (one of the earliest) was

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A committee of twelve (otherwise known as the Quakers) obtained and
published information to help abolish the trade. Many from parliament agreed with the
aims of these organisations but economic interests opposed them. It was in 1833
when slavery was abolished all slaves under the age of six were freed and the rest
was to stay (with a wage) for four years.
Slavery conditions never did improve because many were unaware of the horrors.…read more

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