An Overview of Britain in the Early 20th Century Essay

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An Overview of Britain in the Early 20th Century

During the early 20th century in Britain, lives for everyone changed dramatically. The population levels increased. From 1901 – 1911 the population increased from 42 million to 45 million. This meant there was an increase in birth and a decrease in death rates.

There were very distinct social divisions. At the top were the upper and upper middle classes. They earned above £700 a year. They were only 3% of the population yet they earned most the country’s wages. They usually went to public school when young then went onto university. Most would then join the army. Many went abroad during winter and the London house for the ball season in May. They
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The working class would get around £50-100 a year. They lived in very small terraced houses cramped with lots of people. They worked around 10 hours a day from Monday to Friday and six and a half on Saturday. They had no holidays and small innutritious meals which meant they died younger. The children would go to work after school and stay in the factory most of their life.

The most popular jobs were domestic, agricultural and in the building trade. The women were the lowest paid of them all and most worked in the domestic service. The Daily Mail was the cheapest newspaper at ½ pence.

In those days, Britain was a parliamentary democracy but the House of Lords could block decisions made by the House of Commons. The system was unfair in that only a few people could vote. By 1906, all men with households could vote but the women couldn’t. There were two main parties, the liberals and the Conservatives. They were mostly supported by richer people. The conservatives believed in laissez faire, where they leave people to their own problems. The Conservatives believed that they should leave the rich people to get on with making Britain richer.

The Liberals believed in freedom of the individual and that you had to work hard if you wanted to be wealthy. This meant that the rich then looked down on the poor as they believed it was their own fault that they were
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