Mrs. Stacie H. Williams
20 December 2012
How The Twentieth Century Affected Great Britain’s Aristocracy
Before the twentieth century began, changes started to occur that affected Great Britain drastically. These changes include a shift in the aristocracy’s power, sprouting from the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution triggered a change in politics. Politics led to one of the biggest events of the twentieth century: The Great War. This war forever changed the way of life for the British common people and the aristocratic person. The Great War helped to innovate modern technology that continues to impact us today. All of these changes contributed to the new era of twentieth century Great Britain. The century mark ushered in a new and advanced way of life for an ever-changing British aristocracy.
Britain’s aristocracy never worked for their wealth, as it had been passed down through generations. They were used to living a very plush lifestyle as they visited their many country homes and had servants to wait on them. The way of life for the aristocracy was very expensive; they were always striving for more. They desired the best of everything and were driven to acquire luxury. In their search to be fulfilled, they would amuse themselves with remarkable “expenditure”. These included: shooting parties, balls, theatre trips, grand dinners with rich French cuisine, gambling sessions, cards, horse racing- if it was expensive they were doing it (Hyams 30). No matter how wealthy or far back the family line went, there was one person who had the authority to handle these inheritances: the father. In the aristocratic home, there was a chain of command that was strictly followed. The person with the most control was the father. His life controlled everyone below him, and the decisions he made affected the whole family. He made financial decisions and decisions about the family’s social and friend group. The father also decided his children’s education and his family’s religious and political views. The father’s main concern dealt with his son or heir and the path in which the son might take. The father was diligent to see that the family’s money would be placed in good hands (Hyams 46-47). The aristocratic father’s role was not affected by the industrial revolution as much as his wealth was affected. The money that he inherited was now being invested in big business and industrializing towns. An industrialized father would have had the same responsibilities when it comes to decision making as an aristocratic father. In the end, the aristocratic fathers main responsibility was having a male heir to inherit and wisely look after his inheritance (Kishlansky, Stearns, Greaves, and et al 46). Next in control would have been the mother, who held the organization role. Her main attention was focused on the servants, the house, and anything that had an appearance that could be judged. She looked after how the house was run and the detail of decoration in the house, the relationship with the servants, and lastly her children. Her relationship with her children was different; they did not see each other frequently throughout the day. The decisions the mother made reflected how the family was viewed by the outside world and the family’s appearance to society (Hyams 47-48). Unlike the father, the mother’s role was affected by the industrial revolution. Mothers of that day would have always stayed at home, but as the industrial revolution came in, it brought about change for a mother. The industrial revolution offered women opportunity. The women and mothers of that day now had a choice and freedom to have a job. Women during the industrial revolution found themselves in factories working and providing for their families. An aristocratic mother would not have worked in a factory, but an industrializing family’s mother would have worked in a factory (Kishlansky, Stearns, Greaves, and et al 45)....
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