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Part of The World in a Life
series, this brief, inexpensive text provides insight into the life of Queen Victoria. As one of the longest reigning monarchs in British history, Queen Victoria gave her name to an age filled with enormous possibilities and perplexing contradictions. At the time of Victoria's birth, Britain ruled over what was fast becoming the greatest empire in the world, containing millions of non-white, non-Christian peoples. During her childhood and youth, the kingdom itself became transformed from one dominated by landed aristocrats to one governed according to the principles of bourgeois liberalism. The royal family served as the most visible symbol of domesticity, while at the same time Victoria's very position as queen defied the ideology of separate spheres upon which domesticity rested. Victoria, the ruler of millions of people, opposed women participating in politics or public life. She believed women's suffrage to be a "wicked folly" and a violation of God's laws. She never gave up that belief, even as the fledging feminist movement of mid-century matured and grew to the size of a mass movement by the end of the century. And yet she reigned, with little thought of the contradictions that entailed.
We live in a global age where big concepts like "globalization" often tempt us to forget the personal side of the past. The titles in The World in a Life
series aim to revive these meaningful lives. Each one shows us what it was like to live on a world historical stage. Brief, inexpensive, and thematic, each book can be read in a week, fit within a wide range of curricula, and shed insight into a particular place or time. Four to six short primary sources at the end of each volume sharpen the reader's view of an individual's impact on world history.