Before World War I, Great Britain was a prosperous empire on the global scale. The country had its territories on four continents and was a perfect model of international trade and commerce. The US and Germany developed their potential fast, however, Great Britain was the most technologically advanced country in the world and the center of the Industrial revolution. The only thing which marred the perfect reputation of the empire was domestic unrest. Poverty, crime, prostitution, child’s labor, poor sanitation, a threat of epidemics emerged from the depth of the British society which dazzled the world with the prosperity of their upper and even middle classes.
Apparently, the industrial revolution had quite ambiguous consequences upon the social life in Great Britain. Vivid social stratification emerged as the upper classes engaged in manufacturing and hired lower class to work at the factories. Conditions at the firs factories were quite challenging so that poor people struggled to earn minimal wages paid by manufacturers. The labor force had no protection from the government yet, therefore people felt that they have to fight for better conditions. Consequently, the British union movement appeared in1850.
Except for social and economic difficulties, British society of the nineteenth century demanded political reform. Though the parliament was elected democratically, the right to vote was inherent only to those who owned a minimal amount of property. On average, one man in seven was entitled to vote. About 70,000 of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Manchester to demand political reform in 1819. In the 1940s emerged Chartism, the working class movement which demanded a universal suffrage and related political reforms.