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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Economics and Empire: The Metropolitan Context

Economics and Empire: The Metropolitan Context

Chapter:
(p.30) (p.31) 2 Economics and Empire: The Metropolitan Context
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

P. J. Cain

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.003.0002

This chapter focuses on the economics of British Empire. Britain's overseas economic relations between 1790 and 1914 spanned the globe: in the latter part of the century around three-fifths of its trade was with extra-European partners, a proportion far greater than that of any other major industrializing power. In economic terms, the British Empire always exercised a far greater influence on the mother country than did the overseas possessions of France or Germany: but that influence was not great enough for Imperial considerations to dominate British international economic policy which became infected by the spirit of free-trade cosmopolitanism. In the early nineteenth century, the most obvious sign of Britain's international competitiveness was the growth of the cotton industry. Throughout the ‘long nineteenth century’, Empire played a role in British international economic affairs which was far too big to ignore but never big enough to dominate either events or policy.

Keywords:   cotton industry, economics, Britain, economic policy, Imperial considerations, nineteenth century

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