The People

An amazing array of people took part in designing, building, crewing, and sailing aboard the Titanic.  There were men and women from a dozen countries on two continents who played a part in the great ship’s story, drawn from every social class and scores of professions, trades, and vocations.  The world in the first decade of the Twentieth Century was a far different place than it is in the first decade of the Twenty-first:  good, bad, or indifferent, almost all of the accoutrements of the Edwardian Era have been swept away.  To fully–and properly–understand the actions and aspirations, the dreams, drives, and deeds of the men and women who were part of the Titanic‘s story, it must be remembered that the Titanic lived and died in a time when prejudices were an accepted fact of life, class distinctions were sharply drawn and sharply enforced, “egalitarianism” was just a long, obscure word in the dictionary, the “white man’s burden” was still being shouldered, and the sun of the Pax Britannica hadn’t yet set. It was a world so far removed from ours as to be almost incomprehensible.  Whether such beliefs, attitudes and ideas were ultimately right or wrong is immaterial:  what is essential is to remember that at the time they were accepted as valid, and people’s actions were determined by that validity.

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