Queen Victoria was the most successful English Queen.
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals and further arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals and further arguments
Round 5: Conclusion (Rebuttals only)
By English Queen, I mean a Queen who held their main court in the capital city of England at that time. If you have further questions, ask in the comments section. I look forward to this debate. Successful may be defined in terms of popularity, victorious conquest, lack of military defeats, peacefulness, or however you decide you wish to define successful. However, you must back up your reasoning with an explanation as to how the queen is more successful in that area when compared with Queen Victoria.
If you wish to read up on English Queens, here is a good starting point http://en.wikipedia.org... but I advise you go further in your research than just Wikipedia before you start this debate.
To be a successful Queen you needed to excel in a number of areas. These are popularity, a great Queen needs to be loved by her people; reproduction, a great Queen needs to produce an heir so the monarchy's future and the future of the country is ensured; conquest, a great Queen needs to lead her nation to victory, or at least have a lack of military defeats, as well as expand the borders of her Empire.
You may bring up any other qualifications of success you wish, but those are the ones I shall be talking about.
Queen Victoria was a fantastically popular monarch for most of her reign. Unlike Queen Elizabeth I, who had a number of attempted rebellions, of which the rising of the north was the most notable, and indeed saw half of England rebel against her, and Queen Matilda, whom was actually deposed, Queen Victoria was never at any real risk of being deposed via a rebellion. She enjoyed fantastic popularity amongst the majority of her people for most of her rule. When she was crowned, especially, she rode on a wave of popularity larger than that of any other monarch at the start of their rule. It is safe to say that, of all the other historical English Queens, Queen Victoria was the most generally popular amongst her people. She also had the longest rule of any other monarch, coming into power when she was 18.
Queen Victoria was incredibly fertile. She had nine children and, although she was not particularly fond of giving birth, why would she be afterall, she certainly ensured the succession by her eldest son Prince Edward after she died. Compared to many other English Queens, notably Queen Anne whom had 14 failed pregnancies, Queen Mary, who died after a phantom pregnancy, and Queen Elizabeth I (the virgin queen), who never became pregnant, she was remarkably successful in this area of her reign.
Queen Victoria saw the takeover of India by England from the East India Company. She also conquered Canada and Egypt, she expanded the borders of the British Empire significantly more than any other Queen, including Queen Elizabeth II. Under Queen Victoria, the British Empire was at its largest and best.
It is also important to note that Queen Victoria's reign brought the world closer together in terms of transport and communication. In 1840 the Post Office no longer required the recipient of a letter to pay for postage, thus making letter writing much more frequent. She was also very appreciative of the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and he did a lot of great work during her reign, including building the propeller driven steam boat in 1843, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Whilst other Queen's have seen great inventions, the magnitude of change of British life between the start and end of Queen Victoria's reign was greater than that of any other Queen, England essentially went from a farming community to an industrial power.
A main contention I would like to bring forth when assessing whether Victoria was 'sucessful' is the fact that she held no real power in England, Scotland, India or any other territory part of the British Empire.
Ever since the Magna Carta in 1215, English Monarchs have progressively lost power over 'their kingdom/Empire'.
1215 - Magna carta takes away the power of the English king/queen to change taxes without consenting a council (which evolved into a parliament). The Monarch still has a lot of power at this point.
1689 - English Bill of Rights, English monarchs may not make new laws, only parliament may. This is a near crippling blow to the power of the 'ruling' english monarch.
1721 - First Prime Minister of Britain is elected, the reigning king (and all successive monarchs including Victoria) have extremely limited powers. 
Queen Victoria was the Queen of England from 1837 -1901 which is well over a 100 years after the de facto end of the powers of English monarchs.
It is absurd to call a Queen successful if she does not even rule her country. She is but a ruler in name and name only.
However Queen Mary (ruled 1553 - 1558) and her successor Queen Elizabeth I (1558 - 1603) both ruled england at a time where they excercised legitimate de facto power over England i.e. before the English civil war and before the creation and enforcing of the English bill of rights.
Queen Victoria was a ruler only in name and had very limited power over England, just like Queen Elizabeth II today (not to be confused with Elizabeth I). Queen Mary and Elizabeth I were the more sucessful than Queen Victoria simply because they had actual power.
Calling Queen Victoria succesful is akin to calling someone who never drew a stick figure to be an artistic genious.
Queen Victoria had the power to award anybody she wished with politically important positions in her household. An example of this was after the fall of the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne of the Whigs. All of Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting were members of the whigs, so when she was forced to ask Robert Peel to make a government, he said that he could only do so if the Queen would replace her ladies in waiting with tories. In the end, Queen Victoria refused and Robert Peel could not make a government due to the political power of the whigs simply due to the number of whigs the Queen had appointed to her household. She essentially had the power to choose who the Prime Minister was, and therefore the route of the country, and it was not at all uncommon for the Queen to 'advise' her first ministers. Indeed, Queen Victoria had a lot more power than con paints, despite the fact that it was less than that of previous monarchs, it was still enough to be ascertained that she did, truly have 'real' power.
The truth is, the dates you mentioned, whilst taking an awful amount of power from the monarchy, did not take it all to the point where they were politically insignificant. William IV, the predecessor to Queen Victoria, actually dismissed a government, which shows that, at least at the beginning of her reign, Queen Victoria did have enough power to be said to make a difference. Her first ministers listened to her advice and did take it on board as she was very close with many of them, most notably Lord Melbourne, her first minister. It cannot be said, in truth, that Queen Victoria did not play a large part in the successes of her country during her reign.
Having said all of that, con has yet to mention, or give any reason, as to why other Queen's have been more successful than Queen Victoria.
Quotes from Pro are italicized and underlined.
Rebuttals to Pro's Round 2 arguments
Queen Victoria was a fantastically popular monarch for most of her reign. Unlike Queen Elizabeth I, who had a number of attempted rebellions... Queen Victoria was never at any real risk of being deposed via a rebellion.
Queen Victoria did have rebellions in her hands, most notable of which is the sepoy rebellion of 1857. While Pro is right that this Indian rebellion would not have overthrown her, this still means that Queen Victoria was unpopular in India which at the time was easily the majority of her Empire.
When she [Queen Victoria] was crowned, especially, she rode on a wave of popularity larger than that of any other monarch at the start of their rule.
This does not help the Pro case, this only shows that Queen victoria was popular due to prior circumstance and not her deeds. Besides, India (the majority of her subjects) resented her.
Queen Victoria was incredibly fertile. She had nine children
This only means that Queen Victoria was a succesful mother and not a queen. The sucess of a leader should be determined on how well they lead their country and not by how much they reproduce.
Queen Victoria saw the takeover of India by England from the East India Company. She also conquered Canada and Egypt, she expanded the borders of the British Empire significantly more than any other Queen
As I said in round 1, Queen Victoria had very little power over the country and was certainly not the mastermind of British take over of India and much of Africa. If the credit must go to one person, it would be the Prime minister and not the Queen of Britain.
the magnitude of change of British life between the start and end of Queen Victoria's reign was greater than that of any other Queen, England essentially went from a farming community to an industrial power.
Once again, Queen Victoria is not the inventor of the steam engine, nor was she the one who set Britain's policy of industrialization and modernization. It would be a mistake to credit her for something that she did not do.
In any case, I could easily say that Queen Elizabeth II (today's queen) saw a bigger magnitude of change than Victoria in terms of british people's lives due to the birth of the internet and the information revolution. Not to mention modern medicine and the increased length of life that came during Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Oh and of course...Nuclear weapons.
Rebuttals to Pro's Round 3 arguments
I understand next to nothing from Pro's first large Paragraph. What does it mean to have politically important positions in her household? I ask Pro to clarify, perhaps rephrase, his paragraph as I am sure it is very significant to this debate (also, give sources).
William IV, the predecessor to Queen Victoria, actually dismissed a government, which shows that, at least at the beginning of her reign, Queen Victoria did have enough power to be said to make a difference
Wording is key here, Pro says that at least in the beginning of Victoria's reign, she had power. This implies that Victoria progressively lost power over time (which would not be far from the truth). A good ruler does not lose power progressively over time.
Her first ministers listened to her advice and did take it on board as she was very close with many of them, most notably Lord Melbourne,
Seriously? The ability to give advice is nothing compared to what Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary had, which was the ability to make and break laws as they pleased which is a whole another league of power to giving advice. I should not have to compare Queen Victoria's power to Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary's power.
Having said all of that, con has yet to mention, or give any reason, as to why other Queen's have been more successful than Queen Victoria.
Last time I checked, my round 2 was not blank. I clearly argued that Queen Victoria was unsuccessful due to her not having power (which literally defines a monarch) as opposed to her more powerful predecessors of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I.
The advancement of the British Empire during Victoria's reign have nothing to do with Queen Victoria's leadership. Victoria was not the policy maker who modernized Britain nor was she the military strategist who won Britain its wars.
Queen Victoria was unpopular among most of her subjects, paticularly the Indian subjects who were getting increasingly nationalist (I imagine Kenyans and Zimbabweans did not like Victoria either).
Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary had far more power over their country than Queen Victoria and therfore Victoria cannot be called sucessful queen if she was not even a real ruler.
'I could easily say that Queen Elizabeth II (today's queen) saw a bigger magnitude of change than Victoria in terms of british people's lives due to the birth of the internet and the information revolution. Not to mention modern medicine and the increased length of life that came during Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Oh and of course...Nuclear weapons.'
There are a number of problems with this statement, the most grievous of which would be the suggestion that nuclear weapons, which were used to end WWII in 1945 in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, came about in the rule of Queen Elizabeth II, who came to the throne in 1952 and was crowned in 1953. Unless she travelled back in time, I'm afraid you may have to go and pick up a History book, con.
On another note, this debate has swerved vastly off topic into the realms of power, when the debate is not about the power of the monarchy, but the success of the individual in their role as a Queen. So we shall get back on topic shortly, but first - rebuttals.
"Queen Victoria did have rebellions in her hands, most notable of which is the sepoy rebellion of 1857. While Pro is right that this Indian rebellion would not have overthrown her, this still means that Queen Victoria was unpopular in India which at the time was easily the majority of her Empire."
Here con illustrates his lack of Historical knowledge, again. The sepoy rebellion of 1857 occurred before India was actually a part of the British empire, which didn't happen until 1858. Therefore the Indian's were not rebelling against the English monarch, Queen Victoria, but were rebelling against their treatment at the hands of the East India Company. Before 1858 India was not under the control of the crown.
If we do wish to talk of rebellions, however, we should return to the aforementioned 'rising of the north' in 1569. A rebellion which saw the entirety of the north of England (yes, England, not a different country that wasn't actually part of her empire) form a rebellion against the Queen, Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth was at a real risk of being dethroned and, very likely, beheaded. The pope also declared the Queen excommunicated in support for the rebellion. Safe to say, Queen Elizabeth was not a particularly popular Queen. After the rebellion was quelled, she had 600 people executed. If you compare this to the number of people Queen Victoria had executed over the entirety of her reign, that is to say, none, it must be assumed that Queen Victoria was more popular than Queen Elizabeth at the time of their respective reigns.
'This only means that Queen Victoria was a succesful mother and not a queen. The sucess of a leader should be determined on how well they lead their country and not by how much they reproduce. '
Whilst, in an ideal world, con would be correct here, unfortunately he is not. It was important for a Queen to have children in order so that, if they should die, there will be a clear heir to the throne. In the example of Queen Elizabeth, whom was once ill with smallpox near the start of her reign, if she had not recovered there may have been a civil war, as wikipedia helpfully states, the succession question 'became a heated issue in Parliament. They urged the queen to marry or nominate an heir, to prevent a civil war upon her death. She refused to do either.' 
"Queen Victoria had very little power over the country and was certainly not the mastermind of British take over of India and much of Africa. If the credit must go to one person, it would be the Prime minister and not the Queen of Britain."
It is true that Queen Victoria did not personally rally her armies and lead them into battle on an armoured horse, but the same can be said of all Queens. Queen Elizabeth, at the defeat of the Spanish armada, was not halfway up the rigging of one of the British ships firing arrows at the Spanish boats. However, both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria were successful in the way that they inspired their country to fight for them. The main difference is that, under Queen Elizabeth, the borders of England did not expand, whereas under Queen Victoria, they did.
'I understand next to nothing from Pro's first large Paragraph. What does it mean to have politically important positions in her household?'
I see, well con, do not fear, I shall educate you. There were three main positions in the monarchs household that the monarch could dispense to whomever she wished. These were Master of the Horse, Lord Steward, and Lord Chamberlain. The Queen was also able to elect her own ladies-in-waiting. All of these positions, but especially the first three, held a significant amount of political influence. Therefore, the Queen's having elected only Whigs in all of these positions meant that it was impossible for Robert Peel to create a Tory government as they would be too unpopular due to not having the support of the Queen. This shows the Queen wielding some real power over the government, and therefore the country.
As for the assertion that con makes that Queen Victoria was not the real ruler of her country, and was, in fact, 'unpopular among most of her subjects,' that is absurd. Here are a few sources I'd like to throw your way.
 'Victoria's popularity grew with the increasing imperial sentiment from the 1870s onwards. Despite this decline in the Sovereign's power, Victoria showed that a monarch who had a high level of prestige and who was prepared to master the details of political life could exert an important influence.'
 'Popular respect for the Crown was at low point at her coronation, but the modest and straightforward young Queen won the hearts of her subjects.'
 'At the start of her reign Victoria was popular.' And, ' her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.'
I don't think I need any more proof that Queen Victoria was, for the vast majority of the time, very popular with her people, and was never under any real threat of a rebellion against her rule. Unlike 'Bloody Mary', who was very fond of burning protestants alive, and Queen Elizabeth I, who had to contend with dangerous rebellions that actually threatened her position as Queen.
I would now like to revert back to the question at hand. The topic of this debate is not about power but about successfulness. Was Queen Victoria more successful at fulfilling her role as Queen than any other English Queen in History? Well con has put forth two candidates whom he thinks was more successful, those being Queen Mary I and her sister, Queen Elizabeth I. In order to gauge the success of these monarchs comparatively to Queen Victoria, it is necessary to compare their achievements with Queen Victoria.
Queen Mary I:
Married Prince Philip of Spain, an incredibly unpopular marriage which saw a rebellion against the Queen. The rebellion failed, but she was forced to arrest her sister, the later Queen Elizabeth I, who had secretly conspired against her. Later, Queen Elizabeth I was placed under house arrest due to a lack of evidence.
Attempted to stop the protestant faith from being practised. Burned hundreds of protestants alive, making martyrs of them and strengthening the protestant cause by doing so.
Had two phantom pregnancies whilst trying to get pregnant and produce an heir. She died shortly after these.
I realise I'm being rather unfair about Mary, she must have done some good things. The only thing I could find on actual accomplishments was this list: 
Mary preserved the Tudor succession, both in her coming and going.
She strengthened the position of Parliament by using it for her religious settlement.
She established the 'gender-free' authority of the Crown.
She restored and strengthened the administrative structure of the Church.
She maintained the Navy and reformed the militia.
So one of the best things that Mary did for her country, according to this list, was die. I think it's time to move on to a more hopeful candidate for success.
Queen Elizabeth I (Gloriana):
Queen Elizabeth I was a great monarch and I will not deny that for it would be a pointless endeavour. She achieved many great things, including the defeat of the great Spanish Armada. However, the main reason that I believe Queen Victoria was more successful than Queen Elizabeth I is that Queen Victoria and Queen Albert were such incredible role-models for the British people. This is exemplified by the Great Exhibition in 1851 of British achievements, which was essentially a portfolio of great British achievements. I would like to draw your attention to this paragraph:
 Six million people"equivalent to a third of the entire population of Britain at the time"visited the Great Exhibition. The average daily attendance was 42,831 with a peak attendance of 109,915 on 7 October. The event made a surplus of "186,000 ("17,770,000 in 2014), which was used to found the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. They were all built in the area to the south of the exhibition, nicknamed Albertopolis, alongside the Imperial Institute. The remaining surplus was used to set up an educational trust to provide grants and scholarships for industrial research; it continues to do so today.
Queen Victoria made learning and great achievements fashionable, which started a chain reaction, leading us into modern times!
I must start with a thank you, con, for you have provided me with great amusement.
'Yes, I now agree that Victoria had some power over the government, we must not forget that key word 'some'. It is really not disputable that Elizabeth I and Mary had more power over their country.'
Earlier con was arguing that Victoria had no power over her country, now he asserts that she actually did have 'some' power over her country. I'm not going to attempt to argue that Elizabeth and Mary had the same amount of actual power as Victoria, Elizabeth and Mary certainly had more power! Which only adds strength to my argument that Queen Victoria was the most successful Queen as, despite having more power, Mary did not achieve a tenth of what Queen Victoria did, and Queen Elizabeth did not broaden England's horizons to the same extent that Queen Victoria did either. With less political power than Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, Victoria achieved not only the maintenance of the vast majority of her peoples happiness (excluding colonies), but also the survival of the monarchy in an era which could easily have seen the end of the monarchy after the dreadfully unpopular reigns of George IV and William IV. Her tactfulness and use of royal public appearances kept the public happy in a way that definitely was not seen under Queen Mary and, as can be seen by the rising of the north, not in Queen Elizabeth I reign either. The role of the Queen is constitutional, and Queen Victoria undeniably played that role incredibly well, despite her circumstance in terms of monarchical power.
It should also be mentioned that the last monarch that was legally able to order the execution of somebody was actually Queen Elizabeth II, that right was only removed in 1998. So, con, we should both consider ourselves lucky.
I feel I must apologise to pro, for he's right, nuclear weapons were produced in October 1952 in the UK, whereas Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on February 1952. However, the nuclear weapons program started in 1940 in the UK, thus was not really anything to do with Queen Elizabeth II, but more King George VI, whose Mother, ironically, was born in Kensington palace, the same place where Queen Victoria herself grew up. Just thought I'd throw that in there.
I look forward to your reply!
Round 4 messed up for some wierd reason, please refer to this link for my round 4 arguments
I feel that most of con's argument last round was simply repeated from his previous rounds, where he asserts that as Queen Victoria has 'no power'
It is something worth repeating due to the fact that the power she had was very very limited.
now [Con] asserts that [Queen Victoria] actually did have 'some' power over her country.
But that some is very insignificant and hardly worth mentioning. Pro has only proven that Victoria is able to give advice to ministers.
despite having more power, Mary did not achieve a tenth of what Queen Victoria did, and Queen Elizabeth did not broaden England's horizons to the same extent that Queen Victoria did either.
This makes no sense, if Victoria had little to no power to influence the course of events of her country then why should England's successes be attributed to her.
Victoria achieved not only the maintenance of the vast majority of her peoples happiness (excluding colonies),
Colonies were just as much part of Victoria's realm as England was and even Pro agrees that they were not happy.
but also the survival of the monarchy in an era which could easily have seen the end of the monarchy
The monarchy may have survived but they really were not monarchs since they surrendered 99.99% of their power to the elected government.
[Victoria's] tactfulness and use of royal public appearances kept the public happy
Once again shows that Victoria's primary purpose is to be a figurehead to her citizens, which she failed to do throughout the Empire with the exclusion of the citizens living in England itself (a small % of people in 'her' realm).
However, the nuclear weapons program started in 1940 in the UK, thus was not really anything to do with Queen Elizabeth II.
That was not even my primary argument, I simply argued that to show that Elizabeth II saw a greater advancement of quality of life and technological progress compared to Victoria.
But the bigger point is that Queen Elizabeth II or King George VI were not the nuclear physicists who helped developed the Nuclear Warhead. Neither was Queen Victoria the one who discovered Automobiles.
I have repeated this time and time again but Pro continues to argue against this, Victoria did not set up a modernization policy (she did not have the power to) to make Britain an industrial superpower.
Contrast this to Elizabeth and Mary who established/maintained/grew the English Navy to defeat the global superpower of Spain.
- Victoria is not a succesful queen since she barely has any control over her country, you cannot be a painter without painting something.
- Since Victoria had insignificant control of events in her country, means that the success of 19th Century Britain cannot and should not be attributed to her.
- Victoria was just as hated as Queen Elizabeth I, if not more so. Victoria, being the figurehead, would be the person that colonial subjects resented.
-Queen Elizabeth I, actually had near total control of her nation and was not just a figurehead. Therefore it is reasonable to attribute the defeat of the Spanish to her. The defeat of a globe spanning empire with just the navy of a small island nation. Surely this is a far greater acomplishment compared to Victoria (who literally had 0 accomplishments that were genuinly hers)
The resolution is negated.
Vote for Con.
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