Britain’s empire was so vast the nineteenth century and for most of the twentieth that it was actually the world superpower. America, Asia, and much of Africa had all been conquered. British influence had reached quite far. The colonial nations all carried the British ideas about law, order, health, sexuality, and culture.
Whether British colonial control was good or not is a topic of much dispute. The extent to which the colonies impacted the British economy is another hot topic of discussion. Both of these concerns are examined, but the literature on the effects of the British Empire on the typical British person is scant.
The British Empire is a fact of history that cannot be wished away. The major architects of this empire were the British middle class. Doctors, scientists, geologists, explorers, soldiers, administrators, entrepreneurs got an opening that would have been ordinarily denied to them.
This middle class was articulate in furthering British interests and at the same time they also had a reason to strive forward. The middle class supported the aristocracy, which in turn gave the middle class unfettered access to the colonies to work and earn.
Many also did a lot of good. One can think of Dr David Livingston in Africa and the innumerable explorers and scientists who flocked to India to map the nation and set up new enterprises. Basically the colonies gave the middle class of Britain a chance of self expression.
The ordinary British person developed a sense of pride because to the Empire. He started to believe that he belonged to the people who will dominate the world. As a result, Kipling’s remark that the colonies were the “White Man’s Burden” acquired notoriety. The ordinary British person, especially the middle class, believed they had a divine right to control the globe for nearly a century, up to 1939, which may be regarded as the height of the British Empire. It cannot be disputed that the colonies benefited much from the offshoot. It is important to remember that daring businessmen working under the direction of Raj authorities charted the entirety of Tibet.
However, the working class in England did not participate much in the empire. The working class, mired in its struggle to live as the Industrial revolution swept throughout Europe, had little time to reflect on the empire. Karl Marx’s idea gained traction because of this.