Download The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset by Philippa Levine PDF

By Philippa Levine

This is a huge survey of the background of the British Empire from its beginnings to its demise.  It deals a entire research not only of political occasions and territorial conquests yet paints an image of what existence was once like lower than colonial rule, either when you governed and for these whose nations got here less than British authority.

There has been a full of life debate lately approximately even if empires in general are stable or undesirable issues, and the British Empire has been a great deal on the centre of that discuss, with a few voices  arguing that it used to be a kinder, gentler Empire than its competitors. This publication speaks in particular to that discuss, and in addition to a moment and both energetic debate approximately no matter if someone in Britain really cared concerning the ownership of an Empire.

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Rather like the Mansfield decision of 1772, this tactic permitted slavery no legal standing. This meant that courts of law could not enforce possession of a slave. The same tactic had been applied in British India in 1843, yet in large parts of the Empire, and particularly in parts of Africa, slaveholding was not formally outlawed until the twentieth century. The number of freed and escaped slaves in the Empire was expanding long before the 1830s. When the American Revolution ended in the early 1780s many former slaves found their way to Canada and Britain, mostly in conditions of poverty.

Most stayed poor, and would continue to work outside indenture for wages rather than eventually acquiring land. This suited a society that was increasingly commercially oriented, for the cheapness of land made labourers sometimes hard to find, since so many could afford to buy modest plots of land. Although such a situation sounds as if it would be favourable to workers since they were in short supply, that was not so: indenture and the mercantilist imposition of maximum wages in many of the colonies served to keep firm the distinction between those who owned property and those who worked for wages.

The error in judgement the British made was that it would be naval activity that would motivate French interest. In the event, land war did nothing to deter the French from seeking an advantage over their imperial rivals. In early 1778, a Franco-American alliance gave the American rebels increased military muscle, and expanded the war from a purely local if serious conflict to one also directly and deeply affecting other colonial sites, principally the West Indies. To the disappointment of the American rebels, the West Indians did not rally to the cause of independence, remaining loyal to the British.

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