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The Industrial Revolution and British Imperialism, 1750-1850

J. R. Ward
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 44-65
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
DOI: 10.2307/2598220
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2598220
Page Count: 22
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The Industrial Revolution and British Imperialism, 1750-1850
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Abstract

Issue is taken with two approaches which play down the significance of Great Britain's industrialization for its imperial expansion between 1750 and 1850: the 'gentlemanly capitalist' thesis of Cain and Hopkins, and studies emphasizing how British conquests in India were financed by local resources. It is argued that much of the East India Company's ability to raise war loans in India came from commercial links with an industrializing metropolis, especially via the China trade. The growth in British demand for Chinese tea depended heavily on industrially derived income and on urbanization. Britain made large overseas payments during the 1793-1815 European wars, the decisive phase of imperial advance, on the strength of industrial exports.

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