HIS 315L Exam 1, Topic 2
Exam 1: Topic 2... Between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I, the influence of the growing American middle class only grew stronger, as its members sought to shape American society in their image, transmitting their Victorian values through their growing influence in politics, economic activity, and popular culture. However, it is clear that those Victorian values sometimes existed as idealized images of how life was supposed to be, while a more complicated and sometimes contradictory reality lay underneath, even (or especially) among the “Victorians” themselves. If this topic is selected for the exam, you will be given a list of four key features of Victorian middle class culture, and you will have to write about three of them in terms of the above theme. For each of them, you will have to decide whether it is consistent with the realities lying beneath it, contradicts those realities, or perhaps does some of each.