On friday in class, somebody asked why it was that while Britain had left the colonies alone for the most part, they generally kept very strict control over India. Although we discussed the answer somewhat, I still was not totally sure why this was. Some ideas were that they learned from their mistakes with America; one of the main reasons for the American Revolution was the sudden shift from salutary neglect to an attempt at controlling the colonists, so with India perhaps they thought it would be better to impose strict authority over the colony to begin with, in order to avoid the negative reactions that would come with a change. However, I don’t feel this completely explains their actions in India. It doesn’t seem like a strong enough reason for such a stark difference in the way things were ran. Perhaps it had to do with the characteristics of the colony itself, as India proved to be much more valuable and profitable than America was, and therefore they would have had greater interest in making sure everything went according to plan. Also, the difference could be explained that while in America the people they were responsible for governing were primarily white colonists who had previously come from Britain, in India they mostly had to deal with foreigners who could very well have been completely unfamiliar with and unwelcoming to their way of life.
What do you all think? Do you agree with my reasoning, and if not, why do you think it was that India was treated so differently than America?