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Should We Be Proud Of The British Empire?

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#1 helliethepinapple21

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 03:03 PM

On one hand, I think we should be because of all the power we have now probably because of it. But on the other hand, slavery and violating human rights are certainly not good things.

What do you lot think?

#2 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 02:12 PM

Brilliant question!

#3 George

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:54 PM

yes this is a difficult situation but its alway good to be proud of our heritige.

#4 marshmellow

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 08:52 PM

i think it isnt as clear cut as yes or no...

i think there are definately things we should be proud of. The British Empire at is peak was amazing, especially considering what a small island we are!!!

I understand that people feel ashamed of the mistakes and mistreatment. In fact, you could question whether it was right for us to rule over people living in a completely different country? Regarding issues such as slavery..i think that is more difficult. Yes, it was wrong- nobody questions that. But, our judgements have changed and its totally fair to deduce that we should be ashamed of our past simply because of black marks on the record. when historians study us in the future who knows, there may be things that are so clearly unjust and wrong that we dont have the ability to see because of public opinion. with slavery, we should also look at the role of other countries, britain did not act alone and we also played a role in abolishing it.

So..you can probably guess I have mixed feelings on the topic. But i'd definately say that we should be proud and as long as we recognise the faults as well.

Slightly off topic, but do you think we gained the industrial lead due to ingenuity and skill and as was believed 'the natural superiority of the british people'...OR was it just chance?

#5 Smile

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 08:04 PM


I don't know, the 'British Empire' is such a wide topic. It shows that he have particpated and made an impact on our history. It shows that we are prominant and also that we have the ability to produce good leaders, skilled military and that we can organise ourselves in order to produce something. Plus, it has shaped our history and it is our heritage, and world history too.

But..was it really worth it? I am against wars, I think it makes me sad. Although I see why we went to war, and went out conquering especially in WW2 etc, but it always just results in oppression of a different kind, along with death and destruction. I mean many of the countries in our empire wouln't have been too chuffed about us ruling them, especially with the whole

slavery and violating human rights

But, it did introduce new trade links and new alliances for us that we still use today, and perhaps new allies aswell.

Oh dear, you've confused me now. Might go lie down in a darkened room :blink:

#6 ShinyRaccoon

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 04:50 AM

It is unfair to judge an entire country's worth on it's past. Many MANY country's have suspect pasts. You should be asking if your country is something worthy of your pride at this current time in history. I mean, the British empire has done so much good, and has helped the growth of many aspects of current life. The question itself is also very broad. You'd need to take into consideration the state of the world at any given time, as well as the social views of the people currently living. It is a difficult question to answer when you don't look purely at the historical content, and strip away the morality involved. It is difficult to answer, also, when you simply look at one part of the history, (slavery etc). Why not look at economic growth, social development or industrial development. There is going to be pros and cons no matter where you look. That can be applied to any country. It is a personal question whether one should be proud of their country. One may not be proud of it's history, but they may be proud of the growth to what the country is today.

Edited by ShinyRaccoon, 08 June 2007 - 03:18 AM.

#7 Mr.Breakfast

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 11:40 AM

The end does not justify the means. Although the empire is something to marvel at we should not be proud of an empire. Military conquest is a despicable thing and brings out some of the very worst in humanity. Hitler built an empire that would have spanned the globe if he had kept going. Should the German people have been happy? Our modern morality suggests that to steal something is wrong so why are we to be proud of our empire. It did after all steal entire countries from innocent people. We raped their lands, stole their resources and whatís worse we turned slavery in to a global industry. I donít think we should blame ourselves to this day but we sure as hell shouldnít be proud of the enslavement of millions of Africans or the brutal oppression any of the people our empire controlled.

Is our military prowess really something that should be praised when itís used for murder and petty theft? Or are the trade links we created a good thing when they were used for the transport of slaves? At the heart of the empire there existed a doctorin of racism and a thirst of power. Itís a disgraceful period in our history and not something we should look back on with any kind of pride.

#8 Mr Willett

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 05:24 AM

Read about neocolonialism and decide whether "the Empire" is entirely gone or if it has just altered form. Of course this certainly isn't just a British thing. You'll notice that the old colonial empires still have a codependent relationship with their former colonies and the former colonies are kept small and divided and in a lower status--particularly Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Plus, if you look at the worst living conditions, worst health problems, the worst modern conflicts, and worst malnutrition, you'll find that these problems persist generation after generation in the formerly exploited colonies of the various empires.

#9 mr fox

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 10:33 AM

I think it is dangerous to see the British Empire as a single entity, as this leads to generalisations, such as good or bad rather than good and bad. There were some nations that benefitted from British rule, whereas there were nations that still suffer from the consequences of British rule, and that is the real problem, we are imposing our 21st century sensibilities on the past, today we favour national self government, but is that because we have an understanding of the problems associated with colonies and Empire?
In the context of the time there are some elements of the British Empire we should be proud of, but we still need to look at the results of Western European whites telling other individuals what is best for them. The British Empire goes against the 18th Century concept of free will and 'rights' I see the major benefit of the Empire is that people now see the concept of an Empire as something inherently wrong, but once again there are circumstances when an outside body should intervene in the affairs of Nations. Clearly coming from a Liberal Democratic society, the imposition of Liberal democracy can only be seen as beneficial, thus we need to cosider out judgement criteria carefully.
I would argue that we need to examine specific cases and circumstances to enable us to answer this question, even then we can only hope to come up with an interpretation that favours our Western Liberal democratic viewpoint.

#10 Just_Dan

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 10:53 PM

I think a lot of patriotic Britains see an empire as a sense of pride. I mean a little island owning all these other bigger nations it should be a sense of pride. But then they are forgetting that people lived in these nations before we took them. Did the natives prosper under British rule? Probably not.

#11 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 10:43 PM

Actually, I did a youtube video on this a while back, which now has dozens of comments added to it.

If you read them, you will find loads of ideas for and against the British Empire.

#12 commanda

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:05 PM

What!?! Of course we should be proud of it! Im proud of every last bit of it, in fact, we was a amazing empire who helped and supported countries we took over, especially India! we gave them a sence of being!

God save the Queen!

#13 Snorri

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:39 PM

I think that we should be very proud of the Empire. Of coruse, the slave trade was absolutly disgusting, however, in 1807 the slave trade was banned in the British Empire and in 1833 slavery was banned altogether. How many other major empire can you think of who did this? All of the other major empires actively encourgaed slavery; Romans, Mongols, Spanish, Qing etc.

In addition, we also made a big difference in terms of equality. For example, The British Military was the first military recorded to allow non-native people to serve on equal terms with natives. Romans are well known for their locally recuited auxillia, but the auxillia recieved a fraction of regular roman troops pay and benifits. The the British military, people from London could serve with people from Singapore (indeed still can) on equal terms.

#14 Katy Benson

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 09:41 AM

I think we should be proud of our heritage and being an empire is part of that heritage. I don't agree with slavery or badly treating people in other countries but I think we can be proud that we realized that that was wrong and stopped doing those things. I don't think the Italians are ever ashamed of the Roman Empire are they?!? And they did do lots of horrible things.

#15 Cyfer

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 04:43 PM

I'm just here to talk about slavery.

Basically i'm a bit old-fashioned in some terms as you may say that i do not appreciate moral issues and you are exactly correct.

In my opinion, the British Empire was right in one way. It reaped its conquest. Unlike Hannibal who's famous quote about him not being able to use the victory is the exact opposite of the British Empire. They took slaves and therefore destroyed any chances of rebellion by suppressing the growth of a race.

The Mongols were even more ruthless and got the largest empire in history, although they did have other reasons (only against the Chinese and Tartars[Russians]).

So in my opinion, if slavery grants you a victory that can lead to more, than it should be exploited, no matter the moral issues. Not for the sake of laziness so people can get others to do what they want but to lead to an empire and a chain of victories, that in my opinion is key. Unfortunately we can't do this these days since the invention of atomic fissure and fusion. -_-

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