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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume II: The Eighteenth Century$
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P. J. Marshall and Alaine Low

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205630

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205630.001.0001

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Britain Without America—A Second Empire?

Britain Without America—A Second Empire?

Chapter:
(p.576) 26 Britain Without America—A Second Empire?
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume II: The Eighteenth Century
Author(s):

P. J. Marshall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205630.003.0026

Throughout most of the period covered by this volume, the British Empire was essentially an Atlantic one. There are changes that constituted a fundamental reordering of the Empire which make it appropriate to talk about a first British Empire giving way to a second one. The British Empire of the 1830s or 1840s was very different from that of the mid-18th century. There can be no doubt that the character of the British Empire was changing in the late 18th century, or that the loss of America and the rise of British industry exerted considerable influence on these changes. The success of the American Revolution had exposed glaring defects in the way in which the British Empire was governed. In general, it is possible to see that at the end of the 18th century what was still recognizably the pattern of an earlier Empire was being engulfed by the scale of the additions being made to it. Old and new Empires were coexisting, but the new was outgrowing the old.

Keywords:   British Empire, Britain, America, American Revolution, British industry, 18th century

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