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

Why was the expansion of trade and empire so important in determining British foreign & imperial policy in the period 1846-1902?

Extracts from this document...


Why was the expansion of trade and empire so important in determining British foreign & imperial policy in the period 1846-1902? Britain's foreign and imperial policy was shaped by a number of factors over the period 1846 - 1902. In 1846 Britain was one of the leading powers in Europe - a "great power". Her policies were directly determined by the recent turbulent history of Europe and specifically the defeat of the French during the Napoleonic war. Britain had played a leading role in re-drawing the map of Europe in the Treaty of Vienna and along with the other great powers was keen to ensure the "balance of power" was maintained through the Concert of Europe. By 1846 Britain's naval supremacy, built to support the protection of trade within an empire that spanned the globe, had created the World's largest empire. Britain was a very wealthy and powerful nation. Britain's geography as an island meant that its primary means of trade and defence was going to be by sea, whereas countries such as Russia, in contrast could trade predominantly through land. This naval power and its ability to reach every part of the Empire were vital in determining Britain's foreign policy. ...read more.


With all this wealth came power and this power came in many forms. Economic imperialism allowed Britain to develop new markets for its manufactured goods. By selling goods to countries that were already part of the British Empire, Britain could ensure higher profits through market dominance and virtual monopolies in supply. As the number of territories ruled by Britain expanded, so did the market for those goods made in Britain. Britain had a policy of acquiring more countries to her empire; therefore it could further expand trade, increase profits and also develop new trade routes. As well as creating new trade routes, Britain had to protect its old ones such as India. This would be possible by increasing the strength of the British naval force on a global scale. They needed more territory to create more bases and therefore more protection for trade routes. Key parts of the British Empire included Gibraltar and the Suez Canal because they were entrance and exit points to the Mediterranean, an area where Britain not only thrived in trade, but provided the fastest route to the far eastern markets and India. ...read more.


The number of people eligible to vote had expanded thanks to the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1867 and therefore the well being of a far greater proportion of the population than just the ruling class needed to be won over in elections. One of the main goals of any government is to secure popularity with the general public. Britain was not without its problems - slums, slavery, child mortality etc. However, being part of a great power that was generating more trade therefore making them wealthier, and bringing good to the peoples of the World gave the people of Britain a greater sense of pride in their country. This patriotism was becoming ever more widespread. The electorate was delighted when news of further colonial expansion was announced. The expansion of trade and empire was vital in determining British Foreign and Imperial policy. The expansion of trade created more wealth, more industry and more goods and services. The expansion of Empire through the acquisition of new territories created new markets - and therefore more wealth again - and new "converts". Both were made safe by the continuing dominance of the Royal Navy. The expansion of both enabled Britain to use its Navy to build a strategic empire that kept the growing British electorate happy and fuelled their desire for further growth. ...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. 'A Ministry of Foreign Affairs is indispensable for the co-ordination of foreign policy' Discuss.

    Therefore a revolutionary change in the principles and conditions4 that the diplomatic system should have in order to be fully functional occurred, leading the foreign ministries and other foreign service departments 'an expensive irrelevance, and thus an easy target for cost cutting in a generally post-collectivist political atmosphere'5.

  2. Why did the colonial powers develop a need for African Slavery?

    The Church by choosing the lesser of two evils could at least oversee the workings of the system. None the less the ideology of the Western Church as a whole to African slaves would fuel the need for them further.

  1. Why did it take until 1833 for the British government to illegalise the transatlantic ...

    subject of the slave trade" they declared that "It is with furprize, equalled only by our affliction, we learn that certain innovations are projected in Parliament, which is not only threaten injury to all property throughout the Britifh Weft Indies, but, in the caf´┐Ż of many individuals, ftrike altogether as its exiftence."

  2. Free trade, alone, explains the varying fortunes of British industry and agriculture". How valid ...

    This also allowed Britain to flood the world with cheap manufactured goods. Free trade was finally introduced by Sir Robert Peel in his "controversial" 1845 budget act, influenced greatly by the Manchester School, a group of northern industrialist who came to believe that tariffs were stifling British industry.

  1. international trade

    You can find addresses and contacts on all the continents of our globe: * Africa * Asia * Australia * Europe * North America * South America Help for the most helpless Sustainability also means creating perspectives for the future generation.

  2. Chinese Economic Reform

    Western analysts have asserted that the Open Policy and the coastal development strategy have allowed Deng to entrench his political power (Shirk 47) and will allow his power to be sustained even after death. If this is true, Deng should be very popular in Shanghai.

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

    These trends are dragging the WTO in dangerous directions, away from the traditional market access focus of the GATT. Part Two shifts to the new WTO round. It surveys the political road-blocks impeding progress in the run-up to the Cancun Ministerial and beyond.

  2. Recent Trends in Indian Foreign trade

    5).Exchange of technical and managerial know-how: In the international marketing there is an exchange of the technical and managerial know-how between the exporting company and the importing company. The technicians and managerial personnel of the exporting company guide and train the technicians and the managers of the importing company.

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