The core conviction of Victorian liberal theory, I have argued, is that human beings, with the help of the state, can achieve an objective moral perfection. In the introduction, I divided this conviction into two major claims: one about the worthiness of Victorian moral perfectionism, the other about the worthiness of Victorian statism. Chapters one and two showed how a modern culture of skepticism keeps us from appreciating or even understanding these two claims of Victorian liberalism. Chapters three and four showed how Victorian liberals sought to make good on these claims with complementary pedagogies of perfectionism.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access