To understand the past, sometimes we need to examine our values and subject them to philosophical analysis. The British Empire was a complex, varied entity that stretched across the world and changed over the centuries. How do we understand the mindset of those people in the C19th who created it, or lived in it? This episode is designed to get you thinking and analysing big questions and unpleasant moral problems. Ultimately the answers will be down to your judgements. Be warned some material is upsetting and contains references to genocide, racism, slavery, the holocaust, abortion and critiques of religion. I hope you find it stimulating.

  • Thank you’s to Patrons, and some listener reviews.

  • The complexity of Empire, and the settler empire.

  • How common were empires?

  • Are people innately warlike and violent?

  • Is life important; the need for philosophy.

  • Is life important; what would God do, and does that make it ok?

  • Is life important; building a moral framework for atheists.

  • The worst pub bore ever – drunken philosophy.

  • The economic value of life.

  • If your people are starving, is it immoral not to invade another country?

  • The right to liberty and freedom to do what you want except when you can’t.

  • Heuristics, mental shortcuts, and cognitive biases; how bad decision making affects empires.

  • The power and danger of othering.

  • Look him in the eyes as he dies.

  • Gengis Khan, and how to turn genocides into hero worship.

  • The dangers of anarchy, law and order.

  • Some impacts of Empires; feeding the hungry, and killing other people.

  • Final thoughts.

Thanks for your listening. I hope you enjoy. If you want to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at ageofvictoriapodcast@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @ageofvictoria, visit the website at www.ageofvictoriapodcast.com. The show also has a facebook page and group. Just search for Age of Victoria. Don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes, it takes less time than making a coffee. If you want to support the show on patreon, just click here, or you can go to Patreon and search for age of victoria podcast or my name.

Sources on Politics 1820s&1830s

Political history is always complicated; below are the main sources I’ve used for the politics episodes set in the 1820’s and 1830’s. You can always find plenty more, depending on your particular interests. Hopefully these are a useful starting point.







Napier, C “The War in Syria Vol 1” https://www.gutenberg.org/files/53498/53498-h/53498-h.htm

Best, Geoffrey. “The Scottish Victorian City.” Victorian Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, 1968, pp. 329–358. JSTOR,

Fraser, Derek. “Politics and the Victorian City.” Urban History Yearbook, [6], 1979, pp. 32–45.

Morris, J. “Victorian Values in Scotland and England” https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/78p031.pdf


O’Ferrall, Fergus. “’The Only Lever . . .’? The Catholic Priest in Irish Politics 1823-29.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 70, no. 280, 1981, pp. 308–324

Moriarty, Thomas F. “The Irish American Response to Catholic Emancipation.” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 66, no. 3, 1980, pp. 353–373

Melissa Score, review of The Dawn of the Cheap Press in Victorian Britain: the End of the ‘Taxes on Knowledge’, 1849-1869https://reviews.history.ac.uk/review/1675

JENKINS, BRIAN. Era of Emancipation: British Government of Ireland, 1812-1830. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988

Lingelbach, Anna Lane. “William Huskisson as President of the Board of Trade.” The American Historical Review, vol. 43, no. 4, 1938, pp. 759–774.

Sinha, Mrinalini. “Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere: The Genealogy of an Imperial Institution in Colonial India.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 40, no. 4, 2001, pp. 489–521.

Smyth, Jim, and Alan McKinlay. “Whigs, Tories and Scottish Legal Reform c. 1785-1832.” Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2011, pp. 111–132.

Wasson, Ellis Archer. “The Great Whigs and Parliamentary Reform, 1809-1830.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 24, no. 4, 1985, pp. 434–464.

Phillips, John A., and Charles Wetherell. “The Great Reform Act of 1832 and the Political Modernization of England.” The American Historical Review, vol. 100, no. 2, 1995, pp. 411–436.

Tewari, Archana. “THE REFORM BILL (1832) AND THE ABLOLITION OF SLAVERY (1833): A CARIBBEAN LINK.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 73, 2012

Rubinstein Britain’s Century.

Kate Williams Becoming Queen.

Julie Baird Queen Victory

A N Wilson Queen Victoria

Letters of Queen Victoria (by herself).

EP021 Politics 101 The System in the 1820s/30s

Politics 101 is here. Every wondered if the Queen of England has any real power? Confused by your MP’s, PM’s and Lords Spiritual? Wondering how it all works in the UK if the Constitution isn’t written down? Unsure if Queen Victoria could just give out the orders? Today’s show breaks down the complex political system in the 1820’s & 1830’s to show you how it all fits together, and to give a glympse into the old world of politics as it stood on the last few years before Victoria became Queen, and the great reform act of 1832.

If you want to know how and why things worked the way they did in the UK, this show is for you because it gives you the framework and the start point to understand what went on, with whom, and why!

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