Queen Victoria: The Politician and Reformer

Great Britain during the nineteenth century served as the model for social change without the social and political upheaval typical of nineteenth century mainland Europe.  At the helm of this tempered change sat Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901.  During her reign, Britain underwent significant industrial and educational reforms, becoming the model of productivity and liberal capitalism in Europe.  The purpose of my research will be to examine the role of the Queen in such reforms through her correspondences with political leaders, as well as her personal journal entries, all of which are conveniently available at Swem Library.  Britain was, in fact, a constitutional monarchy with very limited powers granted to the monarch herself.  However, by investigating these correspondences I will attempt to understand to what extent the monarch actually played a role in these trajectory-changing industrial and educational reforms.  Such a study will provide further insight into the powers of the restricted British monarchy in the nineteenth century.