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Belle Epoque (2).docx

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David Boyk

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“Belle Epoque”- A Beautiful Era Monday, September 17, 2012 HIST 1F95 Reading Assignment due at the beginning of seminar next week Outline: i) A foreign country ii) Three cities iii) A funeral Key Terms: Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917) The Hauge Peace Conference (1998) Paris World Fair (1900) The City (of London) Sir Edward Elgar Queen Victoria (r.1837-1901) Ancien Régime- “the old order” A Foreign Country “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” - L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between Belle Epoque is a French term given to the time around the turn of the 20 th century, with the English translation meaning “beautiful era”. This was the golden era of prosperity and peace, and a time full of optimism that peace would continue. The Belle Epoque would become known as an Indian summer at the end an era. In 1900 life looked, smelled and sounded very different than modern life:  Smell of horses as opposed to the smell of gasoline/diesel  Hear horses, street vendors, carriage wheels, perhaps locomotives- automobiles still uncommon as they were reserved for the very rich (a modern comparison for the exclusivity would be private jets)  Necessities were delivered by horse-drawn carts  Travel to distant lands via ships- not common (a luxury)  Telegraphs were a popular form of international communication  Newspapers were the main form of news distribution  Not every home had a phone In 1900 social mobility (moving from one class to another) was becoming easier as well. It was still very common, however, to be born and to live in the same class. Poor classes weren’t commonly able to get an education, as the children would usually have to be put to work early on in life. This prevented many from moving up in class. Most states (countries) were still ruled by hereditary monarchies (ex. Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain). France and the United States, however, were republics. In Great Britain not every man could vote. Voting was reserved for “higher-ups” (higher class). No women could vote. In 1900, women were still basically servants of men. Socially accepted to have had three basic functions: 1) To have/care for children 2) To attend to the home 3) To serve men In advanced societies, things were slowly changing. By 1900 the “feminism” ideology existed. Only in Finland, Norway, and 11 American states could women vote at the beginning of WWI (1914). Three Cities Outside of bigger cities, the world was very different. People didn’t have long life expectancies, an
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