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Life in Georgian England

The Georgian era is the period in England's history that was characterized by the rule of George I, George II, George III and George IV, covering the years from 1714 to 1830. Some historians would also include under the Georgian era the period of the Regency of George IV as Prince of Wales when his father George III was ill. Others would go even further to include the reign of William IV from 1830 to 1837.

As well as the political and historical characteristics of the Georgian era, the term is also used in relation to the architectural accomplishments in England.

The Georgian era as a whole and particularly beginning in the 18th Century, was a period marked by exceptional cultural growth. This period in English history saw the rise of the British Museum in the year 1753. Notable also during this time were the cultural accomplishments of such figures as Dr. Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth, Samuel Richardson, George Friedrich Handel and many more cultural giants.

The climate of life in England during the Georgian era was well depicted in the literary works of such writers as Jane Austen and Henry Fielding. As mentioned earlier, the Georgian era was also a period of great architectural accomplishments as exemplified by the works of Robert Adam, John Nash and James Wyatt. It was also notable for being the era that gave birth to the Gothic Revival Style.

Elsewhere in the field of visual art, the fast changing cultural atmosphere of the Georgian era was readily apparent in the paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds, J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. These artists, as well as the landscape designer Capability Brown, played a large part in preserving the imagery of life in the Georgian period through their various accomplishments.

The Georgian era was also significant in the social sense in that it was the era in which the Industrial Revolution was born. The Industrial Revolution of course had a large part in increasing and further defining class divisions in English society and the development of the rival political parties, the Tories and the Whigs.

The rural areas in England also experienced their own sweeping changes and this gave rise to the Agricultural Revolution, which affected the movements of large numbers of people and directly influenced the increasing decline of many small communities. This period also saw the rapid growth of many cities and it was then that the integrated transportation system had its earliest beginnings.

Ironically in this period of rapid urban development, the Georgian period also saw the widespread emigration of large groups of people to Canada, the United States colonies and other places in the British Empire. This phenomenon was largely due to the decrease in the number of rural communities and the subsequent scarcity of available work.

These conditions and many others necessitated the social reform actions of politicians such as Robert Peel, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Clarkson along with many others and brought about many significant changes in slavery, prison reform and social justice.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 03/04/2007



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