The Decline of the British Empire Term Paper by Quality Writers

The Decline of the British Empire
An analysis of the factors contributing to the economic decline of the British Empire after 1870.
# 100592 | 2,525 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jan 11, 2008 in History (British) , Economics (National) , History (European - 19th century)

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This paper provides an economic analysis of particular historical factors that contributed to the relative decline of the British Empire since around 1870. It begins by briefly discussing the basis for the British Empire's phenomenal growth. The paper then focuses its explanation for the Empire's fall on the collapse of free market values in the empire and their replacement with collectivist and protectionist strategies that encouraged rival nations to assert their own global dominance and threaten Britain's position.

From the Paper:

"In the end, the Empire's rigid attempts to hold onto the whole of itself at the expense of free market values would be the undoing of the Empire. The tighter the control the Empire exerted to make up for lagging industry and slow innovation, the more threats from outside the Empire intensified as well as unrest within the Empire and nationalist uprisings. These factors ultimately had the effect of undermining the strength of the Empire. After two World Wars, the British Empire was thoroughly unable to maintain its position of global dominance and quietly let go of its remaining colonial holdings. In 1947, with the liberation of India, the British Empire was effectively no more (Windschuttle par. 3). The most powerful empire in the world--even if it was one of the most short-lived--was no more, suffering a relative decline in importance and authority began quietly as early as the 1870s."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Beloff, Max. "The British Empire." History Today 46.2 (Feb. 1996): 13-20.
  • Cannadine, David. "The Empire Strikes Back." Past & Present 147 (May 1995): 180-194.
  • Galtung, Johan. "The Decline and Fall of Empires: A Theory of De-Development." United Nations Research Institute on Development. 1996. 22 Nov. 2006 <>.
  • Gamble, Andrew. "Hegemony and Decline: Britain and the United States." In Two Hegemonies: Britain 1846-1914 and the United States 1941-2001. Patrick Karl O'Brien and Armand Clesse (Eds.). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2002. 127-140. 22 Nov. 2006 <>.
  • "Imperial Amnesia: The British Empire." The Economist 346.8061 (28 Mar. 1998): 52.

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