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The Modern Era was filled with many changes in the political leadership of many different countries. During the Modern Era one new political concept which was considered to be that of a Native American movement is that of the Know Nothing movement. This movement has its roots as far back as 1843 and was established out of the fear of hostilities by the many Catholic and Irish immigrants that were making their way to the shores of the United States. The goal of this party was an attempt to stop naturalisation and immigration of non Protestant persons from other countries. In the mid 1850’s this Know Nothing movement was at its peak and was headed by the middle-class Protestants who eventually ended up joining the Republic Party as the movement started losing its speed.

The Know Nothing movement started life back in 1843 as part of the Republican Party and as it spread to the other states in the Union it became known as the Native American Party. By 1845 it was recognised as a national political party which then renamed itself again in 1855 to the American Party.

It was in the organisation of the party that the term “Know Nothing” became used for the movement as originally their movement was done very secretively and when asked about the party, the member was to reply that he knows nothing.

All of this came down to the high influx of Catholics immigrating into America from Ireland and Germany at the time which due to the fact that the large numbers of American born persons between the 1830’s and the 1860’s were Protestant ended up being more or less a religious matter rather than that of politics. Furthermore, these tensions spread as far as Europe where it was not uncommon for Catholics and Protestants to get violent over an election.

The Catholics emphasised that they were independent of the priests when it came to politics and the Protestants alleged that due to the failure of the Revolutions of 1848, the Pope was conspiring to subjugate America with a mass influx of Irish Catholics who were selected by Pope Pius IX himself. As a result, in 1849 a secret society was founded under the name of the Order of the Star Spangled Banner which made its way into the Know Nothing movement or the American Party.

On the other side of the Ocean, Queen Victoria took the throne of England for the longest Monarchy in history which lasted from 1837 until her death in 1901. During this time period there was considered to be much prosperity among the British people. However it must be noted that by the time Queen Victoria ascended to the throne The United Kingdom and Ireland were already a Constitutional Monarchy which limited her political powers.

Acting more or less as an icon of heritage, Queen Victoria focused on morality, family and religion and as a result a great number of changes were made to the betterment of the public. Furthermore, Victoria would also work on reforms to the county to change the political concepts to what became known as a Modern Constitutional Monarchy which would further limit any future monarchs to be nothing more than an iconic figure in the country.

Before Queen Victoria had even taken the throne, Parliament had passed the Reform Act of 1832 whose full title is the Representation of the People Act 1832. This act totally reformed the electoral process in the United Kingdom which was to be preventative against choice members of the House of Commons and to allow a more correct representation of the general voting public.

During Queen Victoria’s reign it was not uncommon for children to be employed in mines and factories as well as for chimney sweeps. As a result, during the Victorian Era there were a great number of occupational and factory acts passed to prevent the employment of young children, women and girls in certain working conditions.

One Prime Minister during the Modern Era resigned over some issues surrounding the Napoleonic Wars. It was Lord Palmerston who at the time was Prime Minister and in a response to what has become known as the Orsini Plot in which the bombs that were to be used against Napoleon were purchased from a factory in Birmingham and as a result Palmerston tried to make the purchase a felony. As a result there was a big uproar by the people which ultimately led to Lord Palmerston resigning from his position as Prime Minister.

Lord Palmerston was not the only Prime Minister to resign during the Modern Era though, John Russell too resigned. When he resigned, an angry mob which had protested the resignation was finally barred from Hyde Park due to their tearing down of the iron railings and trampling the flowerbeds. Since entering into politics, John Russell embraced the ideals of Parliamentary reform and was also one of the major leaders of the Reform Act of 1832.

Moving towards the concepts of religious freedoms, John Russell also led many cities in the United Kingdom to become democratic societies themselves. There is still to be considered much controversy over John Russell’s resignation to this day as can be seen by the angry mob that protested the resignation in Hyde Park.

The Modern Era was also the time period that many other movements spurred around the world. One such movement was that of Social Democracy that was pushed by the Fabian Society. The Fabian Society was founded by middle-class intellectuals as a means of promoting socialism in England. This movement became so large that even names like H.G. Wells as well as George Bernard Shaw were known to be active members. The Fabian Society was most well known for its work in the development of the Labour Party which is still in existence today as the Think Tank for the New Labour Party as well as in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

One of the biggest changes in political views during the Modern Era was that of the Elementary Education Act 1870 which required the basic necessity of education for children under the age of 10 and as a result any state funded school was also to be completely free for that child. This act also became known as the Forster's Education Act and was the basics which standardised the education of children between the ages of 5 years old and 13.

Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 22/07/2008

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