HI416 Victorian Britain forum discussions
Prior to each seminar, students were expected to complete a research exercise, and for Seminar 2 students were instructed as follows:
"Go to the British Cartoon Archive website or archive in the Templeman library and research cartoon representations of Victorian politics and politicians (retrospective cartoons are welcome) and print a cartoon you are willing to talk about in seminar discussion. If you find a cartoon about Victorian politics or a Victorian politician which you don't understand, then post it to the forum - a fellow student might be able to enlighten you..."
An overview of all records in the group with annotations (where entered).
Showing records 1 to 7 of 7.
"When considering the cartoon itself was published in April 1837, the context becomes much clearer. Not only was this the year of Victoria’s accession to the throne, it was the year of a general election. Despite gaining around 40% of the vote, Peel’s Conservative party was still in a minority to Melbourne’s Whig administration, which gained around 55%. Moreover, Peel’s 1834 Tamworth Manifesto suggests a separation of Peel’s new ‘Conservative’ party from that of Wellington’s before. Going against the conventions of the constitution, the manifesto highlights Peel’s support for the Reform Act of 1832, (which gave seats to newly formed industrial towns) and how this line of argument could be seen as a contradiction to previous Tory policy."
"This cartoon is by John Doyle and is entitled the flight of Daedalus and Icarus! It was published on 1st July 1844. The picture shows Peel and Gladstone flying away from other political parties and moving towards free trade. Various commodities such as wool and sugar are also shown under free trade. Whilst other parties wanted to keep or abolish the Corn Laws, Peel and Gladstone wanted to move towards free trade, but in stages. This could perhaps explain why free trade is represented as the sun, because it is a great distance away & could take time to reach.
There are two areas of land depicted on one side, one labelled Conservatism and the other one Toryism. This represents the differing views of people in the conservative party, some of whom wanted to keep the Corn Laws in place whilst others didn’t.
It is also significant that Peel is flying away from both groups of the conservative party, because it was his views on free trade and the Corn Laws that divided the party. This was because many other conservatives wanted to protect the interests of land owners, whose profits the Corn Law protected, rather than abolishing the Corn Laws and moving to free trade. The Corn Laws were repealed in 1846, but Peel lost his office and had created divisions in his party through helping to achieve free trade"
"This picture depicts a broad spectrum of Gladstones political Victorian life, starting with Robert Peel. Having been placed as the President of the Board of Trade 1843, Gladstone concentrated a large part of his energies on free trade.
On the islands at the bottom of the page the words Chartism, Whig Radicalism, Tory and Conservatism are shown, possibly as places for the both to land. I think that the image shows both the constant in-continuity and continuity in his political endeavors. Gladstone could never really sit by the side of Peel except in his early political life (e.g. when they were trapped in the tower), however when Gladstone started to spread his wings he was not willing to settle. The only thing that was continual for him was his want of free trade. The question I have is, how much did the sun of free trade impede Gladstone's ability to fly?"
"It is unclear to me why Sir Howard Douglass would be against Gladstone and Peel, considering they are all members of the conservative party. It is also interesting that soon after the publication of this cartoon Gladstone became a member of the liberal party. This cartoon displays the amount of political unrest that occurred during the mid nineteenth century in England. The fact that members of opposing parties would form an alliance against individual members of parliament shows that political leaders were not cohesive in their ideas for the future of Britain.
The Corn Laws that were established in the 1830s ignited many strong feelings from members of parliament. It also created tension between the working class and upper class in England.
My question is, why were Lord Palmerston and Sir Howard Douglass against Peel and Gladstone?"
"The cartoon I have chosen, Stag at Bay, has been satirically modified by John Doyle from a picture by Edwin Landseer. It depicts Robert Peel as the stag with Benjamin Disraeli and George Bentinck as the hounds circling him. This is referring to the actions of Peel who went against the traditional policies of protecting landowners’ interests and instead embraced free trade as seen in him repealing the Corn Laws with which Bentinck and Disraeli were such fierce critics of. Thus, this picture emphasises the extent to their protectionist opposition and suggests the end to this image. The year it was published is also significant as1846 was the year Robert Peel resigned as Prime Minister."
"The Cartoon that I have chosen comes from W.K. Haselden and was published in 1931 as a retrospective look on the Victorian Culture and a want to return to a similar way of life. There are six mini cartoons that all provide an insight into the way in which Haselden beliefs that the Victorian era should be idealized both politically and socially.
From a social perspective the caricaturist clearly shows that a more conservative dress sense on women is seen as better and more appealing, similarly, the dances of the present day are seen as more controlled and less carefree due to the author referring to their Victorian counterparts being “skittish”. According to Briggs, Victorians were full of “character” and yet “light heartedness” which does explain why the cartoonist does revel in his ideas of the past as the present day culture was a lot more uptight as society was recovering from the Great depression.
Continuing with the source, Haselden also implies that politically Britain was more desirable owing to Parliament allowing for a lesser degree of taxation to be implemented “their two-penny income taxes!” If one applies this to the day in which this cartoon was produced it can be viewed that the past would seem more enticing, owing to the culture that had developed from a World War and economic hardship over the previous decades."
"Another reading of the cartoon could be that Haselden is actually satirising the Victorian era. His comments about the huge dresses, and the ‘hair and whiskers’ look can be seen to not only highlight the difference between the Victorian Era and the early 1930s, but could also imply that some things are best left forgotten.
Similarly, while the top right picture may suggest that the system of government was admirable, the comment ‘thinking in thousands instead of millions’ may be a criticism rather than something to look towards. The quote may reflect the fact that many people were excluded from ‘high’ politics, in that for the most part rich, white men, ruled the country while the majority of the population didn’t have the vote, and therefore polices may have benefited a small percentage of the population instead of the ‘millions’; especially as by 1931 all men and women over 21 had the right to vote. Therefore a ‘return to some Victorian modes of thought’ may not benefit the country that was, at the time of publication, going through an economic depression."
"This cartoon dating from October 1983, represents a stern Queen Victoria looming over a cowering Margaret Thatcher. Following her victory in the General Election of 1983, Thatcher and the Conservative Party emphasised a push towards a political programme which focused on a return to traditional values and stressed the importance of the nuclear family.
During the autumn of 1983, a major scandal rocked the Conservative Party and undermined the new agenda. It emerged that a prominent member of Thatcher's cabinet, Cecil Parkinson, had been having a long-term affair with his secretary and had several times been willing to leave his wife for his lover. Not only had Parkinson been instrumental in organising Thatche's election victory earlier in the year, but the publicity surrounding his affair ridiculed the new party programme and made the Prime Minister and her cabinet look hypocritical."
"Is the juxtaposition between the vase of flowers and the telephone pertinent?"
"The one thing that I can suggest is that the vase of flowers and the telephone emphasise how the political roles of women have transformed since the Victorian era. Throughout her reign, Queen Victoria would have been the only woman involved in government and as her power was more influential than instrumental, the vase of flowers seem to represent that Victoria was a symbolic political figure. In particular she was merely consulted about government affairs and could offer advice to her ministers, who ultimately had the final decisions over political matters.
As for the telephone, by the time of Margaret Thatcher, the franchise had expanded allowing women to have an increasingly formal and a more direct role in politics. I therefore observe the telephone as symbolising Thatcher's instrumental power and direct involvement over her government unlike Queen Victoria's advisory role. However, from this image I get the impression that Garland is suggesting that "Victoria knew best"."
"I find this cartoon to be quite funny after last week's discussion on the very stereotypical view we have of the Victorians and the Victorian period. This is clearly depicted through their top hats and coats, and their very conservative image, but more importantly it shows how closed Victorian politics was to anyone who was not white, middle-classed, male and who couldn't more or less buy their way into politics.
The quote at the bottom from Dickens Bleak House is an obvious reference to the Victorian period. After research into the names Boodle and Doodle it was clear that Boodle is a gentleman's club in Pall Mall, and this again reinforces the idea of a gentleman's culture within politics with them making all the political decisions. Sir Thomas Doodle was the fictional prime minister character in Bleak House, which plays on the idea that in this period no one really saw the prime minister very much, he was more or less fictional.
Comically, number 10 has been made to look very derelict and as though no-one is in there, because nobody leaves, to involve the rest of society with the political decisions. The quote 'wait and see' shows clearly what it was like for those who lived in the Victorian period, always being closed off from the political decisions making, no wonder they were so disenfranchised. It also shows the power politicians had over the people, much more so than in today society, and how they more or less passed power between themselves."