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Were the policies of the British colonial government 1826-1942 driven by humanitarian concerns or self-interest? Explain your answer.

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Introduction

History Essay Question: Were the policies of the British colonial government 1826-1942 driven by humanitarian concerns or self-interest? Explain your answer. Being humanitarian is helping to improve the welfare and happiness of the people out of genuine concern for them where as self-interest is the regard for one's advantages or benefits including economic gains. Although it may seem that British policies did improve the lives of the locals, they were mostly done out of self-interest then genuine concern for the locals' welfare and happiness. The various British policies in healthcare, education and law and order were actually implemented out of self-interest by the British for their economic gains. Therefore, I believe that the British policies were done more out of self-interest than humanitarian concerns. Firstly, there was only intervention by the British when their economic interests were threatened. ...read more.

Middle

Secondly, policies were only implemented by the British only when the outcome of the policies benefited them. In the education sector, the British only set up schools and educational facilities when there was a greater demand for people trained in English to fill up the posts in the government and the trading companies. For example, in the 19th century, there was a large demand for people that knew English to fill up the various jobs in the government and trading companies as Singapore was expanding its trade. Without enough trained people in the workforce, Singapore's resources will be stretched to an extent such that they could not handle the different problems that were occurring in Singapore daily. Therefore, the government decided to provide grants to set up Malay and English schools. ...read more.

Conclusion

The British needed the patronage of these merchants to their port in order for them to gain substantial trading profits. For fear of scaring away the merchants, the British decided to implement new measures that will improve the law and order in Singapore, mostly changes in the police force and the setting up of various criminal laws and the sentences for the crime. Therefore, this showed that the British only acted when the circumstances threatened their trading profits. In conclusion, the trading profits were the primary concern of the British in Singapore. Therefore, in order to safeguard their economic gains, they implemented new policies that tackled problems affecting the trading profits of Singapore's port. Thus, it conclusively showed that the policies implemented by the British were actually motivated by self-interest rather than humanitarian concerns. ?? ?? ?? ?? Name: Toh Yu Ze (22) Date: 16/03/2012 Class: 2P ...read more.

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