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The British Empire Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

The British Empire ultimately had beneficial effects for its people; they did so through military, and economic aspects. Many advancements and benefits of these aspects led to a stronger empire and better lifestyle of its people. The main reason these advancements occurred was because the British Empire, and the most of the other European countries, were much more technologically advanced. While they enjoyed many years of advancements and developments, they still underwent periods of upheaval and detriment. Overall, the British Empire furthered the livelihood of its people and the world that followed it.
Militarily, the British had the pleasure of being the dominant naval power from 1815 ...view middle of the document...

Even the Chinese could not match the British militarily; the Chinese felt their wrath when they attempted to oust Britain from trading, mainly opium, in their country. As the 20th century and First World War rolled around, the British found themselves declining in military power (Kennedy). The United States began to climb to the top of military power during this time frame eventually surpassing it during and after the Second World War. However, the British today remain a global superpower, but are a mere shadow of what they once were. The legacy of British military power provided, and still provides, their people with a sense of security. It was this sense of security that allowed the people to explore new areas of study and bring about new philosophies and technologies the world had never seen.
The British were not always the military power their recent history indicates. Prior to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when the British began to experience military dominance, they struggled to keep up with the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and French. During the 16th century, Britain had very little military power as it was busy fighting civil wars of its own. The constant battle for territory and control during the 17th through 18th century took a toll on its people. In America, the people of the British colonies were having to deal with French, Spanish, and Indian conflicts; the French to the North, the Spanish to the South, and the Indians to the West. The people in the colonies suffered from various attacks and years of uncertainty over whether they would survive or not. It is at the fault of negligent British armed forces for not supporting the colonies until the 18th century when open conflicts with the various enemies came about (Furth). However, it can be said that for most of the modern British Empire’s existence, its military prowess has been beneficial to its people and given them more opportunities than most any other empire during this time.
Most of Britain’s military power was exerted in an effort to shore up its colonies. Britain pursued the exploration and development of a multitude of colonies around the world for one reason; they wanted to get wealthy and feed their economy. From these colonies they were importing gold, silver, furs, textiles, various other items and in turn began to experience growth and wealth in all societal classes. This wealth led to the industrial revolution which became the backbone of British advancement in modern times. By applying inanimate power, where previously there had only been humans and animals, brought about new productivity. It started with inventors creating new farm equipment which farmers were quick to adopt. Inventions like the seed drill, horse-drawn hoe, and an iron plow along with new agricultural systems increased productivity (Furth). The textile industry also boomed as various new ways to spin cloth came about such as the water frame. By the late 18th century, Britain was...

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