• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Imperial reform in the 19th century was primarily motivated by economic factors

Extracts from this document...


"Imperial reform in the 19th century was primarily motivated by economic factors." How accurate a description is this, with reference to the changes made in the administration of the British Empire, 1815 to 1870? The period 1815 to 1870 was characterized by radical change in the character of the British Empire, to the extent that, by the end of the period, the empire consisted of two distinct parts: one made up of 'dependent' colonies, experiencing direct formal rule; and the other made up of self-governing 'settlement' colonies. This development occurred as a result of a series of social, political and economic reforms. In order to judge whether economic factors dominated imperial reform during this period, an assessment of the causes and nature of reforms is necessary. However, while imperial reform was multicausal, great weight can be given to the argument that underlying economic factors which stimulated initial social reform and change, which in turn propagated political reform. One of the earliest reforms was the dismantling of the slave system, initiated by Britain in 1807 through the end to British involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and again in 1834 through the abolition of colonial slavery. The abolition can be seen as a result of a combination of economic, social and political factors. ...read more.


While the immediate cause of the mutiny was a revolt by Sepoys in the Indian army in 1857 owing to a dispute about loading the Enfield rifle in a manner against their religious beliefs, the underlying causes focus on political and economic grievances. Territorial expansion in the Punjab, Sind, Berar and Oudh, and the resulting 'westernisation' policy caused widespread social and political discontent. The Indian people felt that they were being forced to accept and 'alien' culture and that they lacked political power within their own country. This discontent was exacerbated by economic grievances following the end of the East India Company's monopoly on business in 1813, which opened India up to competition by Britain's industrialists and merchants. This led to India being flooded with cheap British goods, and high rent being introduced by British property developers, leading to the devaluation of Indian products and economic decline. The Mutiny was a fundamental turning point in the history of British rule in India, and led to reforms which introduced total British rule. The reforms focus on the replacement of the Governor-General by a Viceroy; the re-organisation of the British Indian Army through the strengthening of the European element; the reduction of power of the sepoys; the end to the involvement of the EIC in the machinery of British rule; ...read more.


In addition, there were economic advantages to the British economy of Britain denying the dependent colonies the right to impose protective tariffs, as this destroyed the development of industry, affecting India most severely as it became a huge captive market for British goods. Therefore, free trade couple with having colonies was economically beneficial. The economic reforms which characterised the period of "New Imperialism" can thus be seen as motivated primarily by the need to protect existing trade links and to prevent the absorption of overseas markets into the increasingly closed imperial trading blocs of rival powers. Owing to her superior position in industry and trade, Britain tended to benefit from the introduction of free trade and end of protectionism. Thus, these reforms were stimulated chiefly by economic advantages. Therefore, all forms of imperial reform in the 19th century were influenced by economic factors to an extent. Underlying economic factors contributed to social and political change which resulted in the abolition of slavery and the granting of self-government to settlement colonies. Moreover, economic benefits of the free trade reforms directly stimulated them. Thus, while not all of the reforms were a direct result of economic factors, underlying economic reasons influenced all the reforms to a certain extent, often producing the social and political factors which eventually stimulated reform. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    As worrying, it appears that an increasing number of recent appointments to the WTO Secretariat have been made more on the basis of appeasing developing country pressure for more representation within the Secretariat than on the basis of merit. All the above - empty windbag speechifying, political point-scoring, running around

  2. Why was the expansion of trade and empire so important in determining British foreign ...

    This brought in huge amounts of wealth into the British economy. For instance between 1850 and 1874 real wages increased by 1/3. And over a 24 year period from 1851-1875 the economy showed a total 8.4% growth. Importantly, it could "police" this trade with its supremely powerful navy.

  1. To What Extent Did Imperial Concerns Guide British Foreign Policy Between 1890- 1907?

    hold fast to the string, you never know where he will be off to." The Kaiser although a possessed great political power was a complex character who's moods were likely to change rapidly, the combination of great power and a very unpredictable personality mad him a very hazardous character in world politics.

  2. Explain how money came to be what it was in Singapore at the beginning ...

    To ensure stability in the currency, the Straits Settlements Currency Board maintained a fixed exchange rate with the British currency. As such, it was legally obliged to redeem any amount of Straits Settlements currency notes with British currency, and had to back every unit of Straits Settlements money with an equivalent amount of British currency to ensure this.

  1. Why did the UK lose its lead in industrial development and trade in the ...

    In 1904 average tariffs on British imports were 25 per cent in Germany and 73 per cent in the United States. British Naval power now came under threat but it could not force European markets, like Germany, to open its markets to British goods.

  2. By the mid nineteenth century, Britain had been the world's strongest economic power for ...

    This essay will outline the development of the entrepreneur debate, from the view of contemporaries in the late Victorian period and what has been classed as little more than 'journalistic generalisation'. From there will be a chronological review of the debate from the qualitative findings in the 1940s, to the

  1. In this report, we shall explore the reasons for the shift from multilateralism to ...

    The next form of multilateral trade agreement entered into by East Asian countries is ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which is initiated in 1992. It has 10 members, consisting of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar and Cambodia.

  2. Colonialism and Colonies.

    These colonies usually produced cash crops such as spices, cotton, palm oil, or rubber. Colonies of exploitation included Indonesia and Malaya in Southeast Asia, and Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa. C Contested Settlement Colonies In a contested settlement colony, a significant number of European settlers took up permanent residence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work