“Outwardly Strong but in Reality Much Weaker” – is this a fair representation of Britain after the Napoleonic Wars?

Authors Avatar

Chris Williams                History – Mr Evans

“Outwardly Strong but in Reality Much Weaker” – is this a fair representation of Britain after the Napoleonic Wars?

To other nations Britain appeared to be the only world super power after the Napoleonic Wars but in reality was the nation, and more specifically its people, suffering?  Britain’s foreign policy was strong.  It had a very strong navy and dealt with over sees matters with great power, but this strength seemed superficial to many Britons as a lot of the country were in a depression and many people were suffering greatly.

Much of Britain’s strength revolved around the Industrial Revolution.  There cannot be a date set on the start or in fact the end of the Industrial Revolution but many people accept that its beginning was around 1750.  The actual phrase Industrial Revolution is misleading as a revolution is an event that occurs quickly and brings around immediate change.  The Industrial Revolution was a slow, gradual process.  The Industrial Evolution would be a more apt name.  The big expansion of Britain’s industry took place after 1815.  Many of the great 17th Century inventions, such as Hargreaves’ spinning Jenny and Cartwright’s power loom were put into practice and used on a mass scale.  Before 1815 the power loom had not caught on but by 1835 England had 85000 of them in use.

Factories were needed to house all of these machines so they were built.  Workers were needed to work in the factories so they were brought from the rural areas.  The workers all lived in houses that were built around the factories.  In 1750 80% of the population lived off the land.  By 1900 80% of the population lived in cities.  As more and more factories were built in the same areas cities were springing up around them.  New cities were being formed around these factories.  Most of these cities were in the North West of England.  This was because many of the factories worked on cotton imported from America and the West Indies to the port of Liverpool.  The North West is ideally situated for work on cotton because cotton survives well in a wet, damp climate.  The North West is also well placed for coal, which produces steam power and there are plenty of fast flowing streams to produce waterpower. Lancashire became the industrial nerve centre of Britain with cities such as Manchester, Bolton and Bury housing hundreds of factories.

Join now!

Britain’s vast Empire was something all Britons were proud of.  All around the world there were British colonies.  These included India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of the West Indies.  In the Treaty of Vienna, of 1815, Britain also gained Trinidad and Tobago and Malta.  To stop Napoleon blocking trade routes from India, Britain took Cape Colony from the Dutch settlers.  The Empire allowed Britain trade all around the world.  Britain used its colonies very badly.  She bought from them for very low prices and sold to them at very high prices.  The colonies were also used to ...

This is a preview of the whole essay