La Belle Epoque was a period of great social change and when influences of aristocracy and monarchies prevailed. The kings and queens had complete and unconditional power and control of top government offices and their authority was supreme. Although it was an era of hope and optimism, it was also ridden with pessimism and corruption with a great divide between the rich and the poor. During this period, Britain was considered the most dominant nation in the world. It was considered the Golden Age and the time when the sun never sets for the British people. With the death and destruction that World War 1 caused, many people who lived during the Edwardian and Victorian periods recalled these eras with fond memories.
In terms of religion, Darwinism concept got more support during the Edwardian period as advancement in sciences and technology progressed. The Catholic church’s grip on the daily lives of Edwardians reduced over time as the acceptance of Charles Darwin’s concept, including his predecessors’ work, gained acceptance. As per Charles Darwin, all organisms came from atoms or cells and depending on the organism’s characteristics, can mutate and undergo biological evolution. This was against the teachings of the Catholic church whom humans and other creatures were created by a Divine Being called God.
All composers, artists, and writers we considered today as “modern” had their roots in the Edwardian era. Watercolor and oil on canvas were the preferred choices of medium by Edwardian artists. Paintings of this era are more of portraits commissioned by wealthy people. Kenneth Graham (Wind in the Willows), George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Hound of the Baskervilles), Beatrix Potter (Tales of Peter Rabbit) were famous writers of that time.
In Science and Technology, the Edwardian period had seen so many inventions – airplanes, sewing machines, typewriters, mattresses, and the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. These inventions not only brought convenience but proved how advanced the La Belle Époque period was. Other popular scientists prominent during the Edwardian era were Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.
The way King Edward VII carried himself was copied by everyone who wanted to befriend him. The way King Edward VII presented himself – the way he dressed and talked was copied by many who wanted to be perceived as noble and intelligent. The Edwardian era also allowed other nations to gain wealth, and benefit from Britain’s Golden Era. Many families became millionaires because of Britain’s influence.
The Edwardian period was equivalent to the Progressive age of America. This was the time that the United States went on a journey to colonized lands and islands for possession such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Hawaii. This was the period when the charismatic Theodore Roosevelt aggressively opposed the intervention of Europeans in its domestic affairs.