Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2101 Victorian England: Aristocracy and Democracy, 1865-1901

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Professor Simon Green

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course studies the workings of democracy during the high Victorian age. The political emphasis is on the combination of stability and progress that gave old deferences a longer lease of life than anyone had expected.The course covers the aristocracy's political and social ideals, the business and professional classes, working class culture, sectarian tensions, religion, imperial expansion, diplomacy and other aspects of later 19th-century England (and Britain).


- To promote a better understanding of the problems of continuity and change over time.
- To explore the relationship between political and economic change, and the role of religion in later Victorian society.
- To develop an understanding of the interplay between internal and external factors in political and economic life of later Victorian England.

Skills outcomes
Enhances Common Skills listed below:

- High-level skills in oral and written communication of complex ideas.
- Independence of mind and self-discipline and self-direction to work effectively under own initiative.
- Ability to locate, handle and synthesize large amounts of information.
- Capacity to employ analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Ability to engage constructively with the ideas of their peers, tutors and published sources.
- Empathy and active engagement with alternative cultural contexts.


This module may be taken in conjunction with HIST2100 Victorian England 1837-1865 to form two modules covering the whole Victorian period. It studies the workings of democracy in a mature industrial society during the high Victorian age. The political emphasis is on the combination of stability and progress that gave old deferences a longer lease of life than anyone had expected. What J S Mill had called an 'open aristocracy' was gently declining but displayed a remarkable ability to adjust to change in its many forms.

The aristocracy's political and social ideals were largely shared by business and professional men, now partners rather than clients or rivals of the landed interest. The same ideals were respected in the distinctive working class culture that grew up in industrial England. Rising living standards isolated the substantial minority condemned to extreme poverty.

Despite sectarian tensions, religion was on the whole a unifying and not a divisive force. Imperial expansion and prudent diplomacy added to national self-esteem and prosperity. Above all, this was a free society, able to tolerate the presence of harsh critics in Marx, Engels and others from abroad.

These and other aspects of later 19th century England (and Britain) are covered in a module that seeks to explain the country's envied position in the world then.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Exam preparation
- Researching, preparing, and writing assignments
- Undertaking set reading
- Self-directed reading around the topic

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions, an assessed exercise or exercises worth 10% of module marks, an assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 word assessed essay to be delivered in Week 840.00
Oral PresentationOral contribution in class, can be resat with 'an equivalent written exercise'10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

10% oral presentations are redone with 'an equivalent written exercise'

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019