British Empire Good Or Bad Essay

British Empire

The sun never set on the British Empire, until it did. After World War II the balance of power had truly shifted away from this ageing colonial set up. US-led NATO (headed by the Five Eyes) and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact were the dominate global players who frowned upon European colonialism.

In order to establish such a colossal empire a strong naval and merchant fleet was necessary- Britain is an island, to get anywhere else boats were a necessity. So you could say they got pretty good at building them. Liberalism was an essential ideology behind the Empire- trade was how Europe would enact a delicate balance of power in attempts to avoid destructive continent wide wars.

Unfortunately this simply meant outsourcing violence elsewhere on foreign lands. The latent prosperity within colonies would be funnelled back to Britain instead of staying in the region. The origins of the British Empire can be found in the plantations of Ireland.

Britain was a major player in the slave trade. After losing the Thirteen American Colonies in the War of Independence Britain had to look elsewhere on the globe to find somewhere to pillage and oppress in order to sustain itself. The exploration of the Pacific and the foundation of East India Company in Asia ensured that the loss of America would not mean the loss of the Empire.

Decolonisation and decline of the British Empire occurred after World War II. Britain began a largely peaceful disengagement from its colonies, I say largely peaceful because they were only handed off once non-Communist governments and parties were in place to to over. This was the Cold War remember, and anti-imperialism was beaten by anti-Communism any day of the week.

Relics of the British Empire still exist today; the borders of the new nation-states born from ex-colonies were decided by the old powers, governance structures were passed down, language remained, the Commonwealth means that the Queen is still the Head of State for many countries. In 1945 the number of people under British rule outside the UK was around 700 million, by 1965 this had tumbled to five million, three million of which were in Hong Kong. Once Hong Kong was transferred to the Chinese government this number fell again.

The British Empire is often glorified, the narrative of a civilising mission was present throughout its history and still holds sway today. Former colonies are still recovering- the Sykes-Picot agreement is one reason for the strife in Iraq and Syria at the moment. Decisions made hundreds of years ago on an unwilling population are reaching through history to slap us in the face for our mistakes.

Was The British Empire A Force For Good Or For Evil?

The British Empire is the largest empire ever seen on the face of this planet. The empire was divided into two. The first part of the empire revolved around the British colonies in America that were popularly known as the thirteen colonies. These gained independence from Britain in 1783. The second part of the empire, which developed from the first empire, came later. It started during the Napoleonic wars and survived throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. In fact, the British withdrew from its last colony, Hong Kong, in 1997; indeed the empire lasted for a long time. It developed from India and spun to regions of Africa and Australia. The influence and the power of the empire spun around the world shaping it in different ways. This influence is still evident in many places that fell under its control (Ferguson, 2004). To many people the world is the way it is due to the effects of the British Empire. Certainly, this empire just like other numerous empires before it and after it had triumphs and humiliations; however, the fact that this empire had numerous good effects cannot be overemphasized. The empire impacted positively on Britain and the colonies.

The first notable positive effect of the empire is industrialization. The British having been ahead in industrial evolution helped spread technology to new places around the world. Particularly, the British Empire was responsible for the development of early industries in their colonies (Balasubramanyam & Wei, 79). They built industries in the colonies such as sugar factories, cotton factories and tobacco industries. Certainly, this was a new development in these colonies that later led to the colonies mechanizing their cottage industries for mass production. The industries built by the British laid the foundation for industrialization in these countries.

The development of infrastructure is another positive impact brought about by the empire. To manage the colonies and open them up for easier mobility, the British needed to have proper infrastructure in place. As a result, they constructed numerous roads, railroads, airports and ports in their colonies. For instance, the British developed the Suez Canal and an important sea passage from Europe to India as well as developed a 70, 000 mile of paved roads, 40,000 miles of railroads in India and others (Iyer, 2004). They also constructed numerous ports, roads and railroads on their colonies in Africa. This was indeed a great development in these countries, and the accessibility of different places became easier since roads and railroads now linked the places. Such developments are still very efficient till this day and age

The empire was also responsible for the spread of new agricultural technologies and farming methods. In many nations that the British colonised, they introduced plantation farming, by cultivating many parts of what was “wilderness” into farmland (Chin, 2009). Vast chunks of...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Was the 1950s really a good time for the people?

939 words - 4 pages The 1950s is often recalled as an era of conservative, consensual perfection, a "last fine time" before the upheavals of the 1960s, deindustrialization, and a new wave of immigrants set the nation on the road to decline and invisible lines separated its people (Graebner 336). Although most Americans were living a comfortable lifestyle due to the healthy economy, the 1950s should not have been considered to be a good time for all people because...

Globalization: A Force For Good in Our World

912 words - 4 pages In this ever interconnected world, you can communicate with someone in Asia, do business with someone in Europe, or start a revolution in the Middle East. These luxuries are not exclusive to the wealthy few in the ‘world power’ countries. They are accessible to almost everyone, everywhere: Asia, Europe, North America, South America, even many parts of Africa. Behind the increasing interconnectedness is inexorable economic and social integration,...

Examine responses of the main character(s) to evil and/or evil impulses: O'Connor's "A Good man is Hard to find", and "The Cask of Amontillado". What accounts for the responses to evil in each story?

1269 words - 5 pages EVILThe Grandmother in Flannery O'Connor's "A Goodman is Hard to Find", fears death. She hopes to convince the Misfit to spare her by begging and telling him that he is a good man and should find Jesus. While the Misfit, who is a convicted murderer, seems to regret murdering the grandmother. In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", Fortunato the fool also fears his impending death at the hand of the evil Montresor who had borne...

Was it ever possible for the British to establish a fair solution to the Palestinian problem?

2440 words - 10 pages "The main asset in all our Zionist venture, England as we know her up to yesterday, has disappeared. Sometimes I feel like Sinbad the Sailor. . must have felt when he established his 'national home' on a lithe island...and the island proved to be a whale."-- Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1936Israel was a creation of humanity and the fate of Palestine the defining traits of man. An epitome of altruism in spirit yet egoism in action,...

Justifying Evil for Good is Cruel

1151 words - 5 pages There are many forms of cruelty. One form that many can relate to is bullying. Whether having been bullied or been the one bullying others, those cruel memories can forever be imprinted on one’s heart. In “White Lies,” Erin Murphy, expresses that although bullying is wrong, trying to justify bad deeds for good is equally cruel. Using rhetorical and tonal elements, Murphy stirs emotions with pathos, “perhapsing” with logos, and vivid images...

The Potential For A U.n. Peacekeeping Force In Kosovo

4151 words - 17 pages The Potential For A UN Peacekeeping Force In Kosovo I. Introduction The bombing of Kosovo by NATO forces may finally come to an end. While the excuses for bombing the troubled region have been challenged, for the most part the world concurs that the atrocities gong on in that nation warranted international action. In any event, the bombing did start and it continues, despite the accidental hits on pedestrian villages and buildings which...

Walmart: Good or Evil

1001 words - 4 pages 'Walmart-ization'Wal-Mart operates as a distributor, and retailer of consumer goods. Wal-Mart's history is one of innovation, leadership and success. It started with a single store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 and has grown to what is now the world's largest - and arguably, the most emulated - retailer. Some researchers refer to Wal-Mart as the...

Choosing: Good or Evil

1015 words - 4 pages Intellectual development should start at birth and end only at death. "Albert Einstein We exist and we want to know love, because we were born out of love and want to get out of this world with her. Love makes us discern between good and evil, good being the natural state of our nature, and evil - a state we gain whenever neglect good. We exist and we want to know the goodness of soul, because only she can make us live in harmony. We talk...

Was reconstruction a success or failure for the nation as a whole and for Black Americans in particular?

591 words - 2 pages The Reconstruction Period was a time of great hardship for the United States. President Andrew Johnson was faced with the task of reuniting the North and South together after the Civil War. The Reconstruction was a time when the government thought that all people needed human...

MADD, A Driving Force for Change

1312 words - 5 pages M.A.D.D. is a political interest group for all mothers against drunk driving. It was specifically created for mothers of kids who have fallen victim to drunk drivers, whether it be in injury or in death. Founded on September 5th 1980, M.A.D.D. has made a huge impact on the government today and an even bigger impact on society. The idea of M.A.D.D. was first introduced by a mother, Candice Lightner, who lost her thirteen year old daughter in a...

Competition: A Driving Force for Excellence

895 words - 4 pages I looked up and it was then that I realized there was a 6'2" defender charging straight at me. I heard my teammate yell “Man on you!”, and not even aware of what I was doing, I quickly cut and dodged the defender for open space. I had my shot, so I took it. It was my first goal of the season! I loved the rush of scoring and wanted to do it more and more. All my teammates congratulating me on my goal made it even more satisfying. I went on in...


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *