Imperialism of Free Trade and the British Empire

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l critics of Tucker’s theories, arguing that despite all the apparent advantages, there would come a limit, a ‘ne plus ultra’, at which point, by begetting disadvantages, the progress of the rich nation would be halted. (p. 581) The fears of David Hume will be substantiated by the decline of the British Empire amid the imperialism of free trade.In order to present this paper’s arguments clearly, it is imperative to define imperialism in relation to free trade so parameters will be drawn. According to Richard Pares, imperialism in relation to free trade is, first of all, a process and policy aimed at developing complementary relations between the high industrial technique in one land and fertile soils in another. (p. 144) The new industrialism of the late eighteenth century created conditions that increased, substantially, the economic intercourse between countries at widely differing levels of social and economic development. This complemented the territorial expansion of the colonizers such as Britain wherein products and goods are freely circulating and traded within the empire. The British policymakers were able to transform Britain into a commercial and industrial state, tying the country’s destiny to manufactures and to foreign trade. They, in effect, created an informal empire wherein the colonies spurred growth by becoming both a market for England’s goods as well as a producer of goods that are traded within the realm. London was the center of this trade with the rise of the British Empire.Britain was a latecomer in terms of the conquest of colonies and the global power struggle. Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch have already established their own respective colonial empire and that it was particularly difficult for Britain to displace these European powers from their established positions at the crossroads of world commerce. What made things change, however, was when a new synthesis of capitalism and territorialism emerged.