British Empire

Topics: British Empire, Colonialism, Slavery Pages: 3 (934 words) Published: July 7, 2013
Far from Britain being historically a never-ending line of tyrants and wayward rulers, Britain has been, to some degree at any rate, a parliamentary democracy that reigned in kings and queens and rulers, and was the first to have a popular revolution, under Cromwell, in Europe. The Englishmen who started the first serious forays into venture capitalism, were little more than pirates and adventurers who plundered the Spanish main, and wanted a slice of the wealth flowing out of the New World, of which ventures were often backed by Royal decree. Here begins the roots of the British Empire. From ideas of empire rose the ideas of capitalism, free trade, enforced labour, rigid hierarchies, the criminalisation of the poor, and severe and almost unquestioned divides between those who had and those who did not have, both at home and abroad. That this process made many people seriously wealthy cannot be disproved, that it also made many many more people far worse off is, in reality, more important an issue to deal with. That the legacies of empire are far reaching can be seen only too clearly in places like Ireland, Africa, India and much of the Middle East at this present time. It is when racism and prejudice are broached, that the Empire seems to come into its own; Ireland was the first serious attempt by the British Crown and Parliament, to begin a process of English colonisation, whose colonists would then take over the 'wilderness' of Ireland and use the land more profitably. The Irish were treated like the native 'Indians' a little later in America, as being 'in the way', nomads who were uncivilised, and, more importantly, who did not utilise, and particularly, did not 'own' the land they wandered. This is an important point to understand, and much rests on this 'belief', both in Ireland, America and much later Africa and other nations. The inference being, in English and British mindsets, that because nobody 'owned' the land, it was up for grabs. A simple point,...
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