Were Economic Factors Primarily Responsible for British Imperialism?

1896 words 8 pages
Since the beginning of time various groups across the globe have fought for their freedom, and territory. Some groups failed and found little fortune while others prospered giving way to powerful nations capable of seizing land from the less fortunate for their own benefit. This is what modern day historians refer to as imperialism. Throughout history these powerful nations have used imperialism to their advantage. In simple terms imperialism is a powerful tool used by powerful nations in order to spread their influence into other smaller less powerful nations, whether it be through religion, pop-culture, technology, or military force. Which eventually results in total domination over the area in which the powerful nation has spread its …show more content…
The disagreement is that the YES position feels that British imperialism at the turn of the 20th century was too costly where as the NO position takes the stance that imperialism was necessary in order for British expansion.
In the YES portion the author's state: Disraeli, even as he proposed further imperial expansions, acknowledged that the Empire was costly and that India was a particularly expensive undertaking. Chamberlain, although he looked at imperial expenditures as potentially profitable investments, admitted that they required money. — For those like Chamberlain, who argued that the Empire was good business for the British, imperial costs had still to be offset against private profits in any calculation of social gain: a point Marx had recognized as early as 1858. Even if the claim was only that the Empire was good for a few but not for the many, the question still remains: How much did it cost the many to enrich the few? (Davis Huttenback 85) Through this the authors are trying to show that although the investors in British imperialism were wealthy it was not in their interest to expand imperialistically at the turn of the 20th century like most of their fellow European neighbors were doing. To many investors the idea scared them, and some even lost money like Joseph Chamberlain who himself bought Canadian Pacific Railroad bonds and lost £50,000 in an ill-fated attempt to grow sisal in the Bahamas (Davis Huttenback 85).
Within the NO portion

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