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J.M. ROBERTS ON THE VICTORIAN MIDDLE CLASS

 

J.M. Roberts, History of the World (New York: Oxford University Press; 1993; p. 627).

 

[Victorian] English middle class came to an early share in political power as its continental counterparts had not and could therefore use it to obtain change; it was not tempted to ally with revolution, the recourse of desperate men to whom other avenues were closed. But in any case it does not seem that the English masses themselves were revolutionary. At any rate, their failure to act in a revolutionary way has caused much distress to later left-wing historians. Whether this is because their sufferings were too great, not great enough or whether simply there were too many differences between different sections of the working class has been much disputed. But it is at least worth noticing, as did contemporary visitors, that in England traditional patterns of behaviour died hard; it was long to remain a country with habits of deference to social superiors which much struck foreigners especially Americans.

 

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