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Conclusion to Part I: An Empire of Freedom?

from Part I - 1838: The Year of Freedom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2020

Alan Lester
Affiliation:
University of Sussex
Kate Boehme
Affiliation:
University of Leicester
Peter Mitchell
Affiliation:
University of Sussex
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Summary

The British Empire of 1838 was transitioning in many ways all at once. The basis of its economy was shifting, from slave-produced tropical commodities towards emigrant-produced temperate products, although opium remained a constant; its geography was shifting, from twin circuits of trade in the West and East Indies towards new centres of gravity in the vast terrains of the southern hemisphere and North America; and its mode of governance was shifting from the autocratic military elite which had violently seized new colonies from Britain’s enemies towards a bureaucracy more accountable to settlers overseas and reformers at home.

Type
Chapter
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Ruling the World
Freedom, Civilisation and Liberalism in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire
, pp. 183 - 186
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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