Reason for British Invasion

We discussed in class the negative and positive effect of British imperialism in India, but as someone brought up, I don’t understand why the British felt the need to expand their rule over India. Was it because they thought India would be a better country under their empire or because they wanted to gain more power for themselves and taking over other countries solidified their rule. Without the British, I don’t know if India would have westernized or not but I feel as if they would have been fine without the British invasion. After reading more about the British, I’m starting to feel as if the British took over India for selfish reasons and were concerned with becoming superior to other countries (social darwinism). Although British Imperialism did benefit India by providing them with an educated elite, a large railroad network, large tea plantations, irrigation projects for agriculture, and the motivation to fight for independence, I don’t believe the British’s initial reasoning behind their invasion was to help India progress. What do you think the British’s main reason was for invading India and do you think India would have been fine without westernization?

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4 Responses to Reason for British Invasion

  1. Sarah Esterow says:

    I agree with the points that you said Carly, however I think that India would have been fine without Britain taking over India and westernizing it to somewhat advance the country. After looking at that graph in class, India’s economy, death rates, and overall rating of the country, India stayed severely below the line of all of the other countries, even when the British did rule India. It was not until much afterward that India started to advance and progress. I think the reason that the British invaded India was because it was a good place to build off of and make their economy better and standing in the world higher. I think that the British didn’t contribute to make India a better place economically or in any other way. This can be proven with that chart we saw in class.

  2. Maggie Dancy says:

    I agree that British invasion was for selfish reason. I think if Britain hadn’t invaded, another country would have done it. At some point India would have been taken advantage of, because it has such great resources. I think that the invasion was selfish. The whole thing about “helping India” was to make themselves feel better for what they are doing. People probably felt bad for taking over another country so they called it “The White Mans Burden”. They are pompous for thinking that they, as superior whites, have to take over, and the only reason that it is morally okay to do that, is to say that it will help India. Yet, in the end, they helped India stay a with the world- technologically and economically. They may be at below all of the other countries, yet they are still close, not TOO far behind. I think if Britain hadn’t invaded, India would have been fine at the time, but if no one had westernized them, they would have been WAY behind. They could survie because they would live in their own little bubble of India, just using the resources they had. But, industrialization and westernization is inevitable at some point in time.

  3. Ezra Thompson says:

    Although they did end up benefitting India in some regards, I think that Britain’s invasion of India was incredibly selfish. By the early 1800’s the British East India Company had firmly established its presence and the colonization of India made a little bit of sense. India was viewed as Britain as the gateway to Asia. They believed that if they held India they could potentially expand into other countries as well. The British were known for their brand of mercantilism in which the colonies were taken for the purpose of serving the British Empire.

    As for India I think it depends on what your definition of “fine” is. Modern day India is overpopulated and in a nuclear standoff with Pakistan. I would argue that India is not really fine right now. But if the British had not taken over India they might not be westernized but they might be a little bit better off socially and economically. Its hard to know, though.

  4. Molly Smith says:

    It is important to keep in mind that India was an important textile producer until the British developed their own textile industry to compete with Indian textiles. At that point, the British worked to reorient the Indian economy to produce raw materials. Sounds like a step backwards for Indian development when the British took over, if you look at it from an economic point of view.

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