Sunday 26 May 2024

"The British Empire: a Force for Good"


"The British Empire: a Force for Good, a new book, is a refreshing antidote to the current zeal for decolonisation, [a movement] which encourages us to reimagine history as 'a morality play in which white men are the baddies.'
    "Author John McLean ... tells the stories of Britain’s 101 colonies established over 400 years, capturing the boldness and zeal of the pioneers who built the empire. ...
    "British colonies were the building blocks of the British Empire, spreading the English language, customs, law, property rights, and Christianity to more than 100 locations around the globe, creating much of the developed world that we live in today. That is one reason why McLean can write ... that the British Empire was a force for good.
    "McLean provides further evidence of this force for good in twenty pages on slavery, and on the sustained efforts Britain took, at great expense, to stamp it out.
    "Slavery was made illegal in Britain in 1772, the Slave Trade Act 1807 made it illegal for British ships to transport slaves, and from 1808 to 1867, Britain spent 1.8 percent of its GDP every year to seize slave ships and free slaves, McLean writes.
    "Britain’s role in reducing slavery is now hardly mentioned while former British territories where slavery had existed hundreds of years ago are claiming trillions in compensation ...
    "McLean [also] shows the extent to which independence was a disaster for many colonies. ... [the] story of armed conflict, atrocities, looting, and 'white flight' after Britain granted independence to numerous colonies [was] repeated many times. Such [he writes] is the legacy of [much] decolonisation."

~ Mike Butler from his review of 'The British Empire – a force for good' [Editor's note: the book is recommended as an antidote to much modern silliness, but with errors, most especially the chapter on American independence.]


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