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Were Economic Factors Primarily Responsible for Nineteenth-Century Bri

Feb 13, 2001 561 Words
Were Economic Factors Primarily Responsible for Nineteenth-Century British Imperialism?

In society today the almighty dollar is what motivates most people's actions. However, there are other reasons that can promote a change within a system such as morals, religious beliefs, values, and ethics. During the nineteenth century, society was not much different from that of the present day as the economy remains one of the most important parts of the country. This is evident in the time period when the New World was discovered and numerous people flocked to the uncharted lands in search for prosperity. British imperialism was no different in that it was a means to stimulate the economy by increasing land mass and make trading less difficult.

Upon looking at the economic system employed by a country, one of the first things that needs to be examined is the land within that country's possession. The British Empire had a major advantage on its side in that it had many lands with very diverse economic bases. Some of the areas that were encompassed by this vast empire were agriculturally bound while others were industrially superior. Still, others had a port based economic system. With this in mind one can envision the way in which these various systems of economy can be woven together to form a tapestry of a truly independent and well functioning economy. Within the lands that Britain held there were agriculturally rich areas which supplied them with the means to produce raw materials, textiles, and crops necessary for the production of other goods. After harvesting these commodities they could be sent to the industrial areas for refinement and finally the merchandise could be transported to the port based economic areas where they could be shipped to other countries.

Another advantage which Britain had was that with the extent that their empire covered they were able to send goods to locations all over the world with little to no tariffs placed on their goods because they had access to ports in many countries and on almost every continent. This was a great asset because it would allow Britain to keep their prices lower and therefore stimulate competition in which they had a distinctive advantage over those who opposed them. Another way in which Britain could exploit her might was by taking advantage of the good standings that these countries held with one another. They could also use any bad relationships that a country had before the British occupation with a promise of fair trade that would be regulated by the government officials of Parliament. This could have appealed to some countries and helped establish good trade relations between Britain and other countries.

In a money hungry culture and society the people of Britain saw a way to improve upon their way of life and were willing to make great sacrifices to obtain what they felt was to be the destiny of their homelands. In order to accomplish this insurmountable task they first had to expand the borders of their sacred monarchy and increase their trade capabilities. With these possibilities for economic growth laid before her Britain was at a point in which she could have achieved greatness and become a vast and unopposable world power. However, circumstance had a slip of the hand while writing the poem of history and denied Britain her superiority.

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