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Many of the features we associate with the modern world first developed during the Victorian era.
On a technological level, this was a great period of industrialization in Britain, with a significant growth in manufacturing industries. The application of the steam engine led to the development of railroads, making transportation far more efficient. The development of the telegraph vastly sped up communications. Gas began to be used for lighting and heating. On a more negative level, industrial pollution became common. It was also a major period of urbanization.
Socially, there were many landmarks in the rights of women and the poor, including movements toward universal suffrage, property rights for married women, and more flexible laws about divorce. Middle class women had increased opportunities in the job market. Education and literacy evolved from being the purview mainly of a wealthy elite to becoming nearly universal.
Evolution in paper manufacturing and printing technology made printed matter affordable to a much wider audience, leading to a mass market in literature.
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