Utopianism, wild optimism, and a spreading conviction that the many ills of the world could be remedied with just the right formulas punctuated the final decades of the Victorian era. Given the absence of outright global conflicts and pandemics, the seeming triumph of industrialism, the conquest and occupation by Europe of remote areas of the globe, and a communications revolution that knit distant regions more easily to mother countries, leading figures of the period thought that they could confidently succeed in making the planet a much better and much more humanly rewarding enterprise.

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