What are the advantages and disadvantages of Britain's colonies?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having colonies in North America had advantages and disadvantages for Great Britain. One advantage was the British were able to use their colonies to get raw materials for their factories. By having colonies, Great Britain was able to get these raw materials cheaper than if they had to buy them from other countries. The colonies also provided a guaranteed market for the British factories. They would be able to sell their products in the colonies. Another advantage of having colonies is that it gave Great Britain an opportunity to spread its influence and way of life around the world. Additionally, having colonies gave the British various military bases around the world from which they could operate. This helped Great Britain become and remain a world power. 

Having colonies also posed disadvantages. Having colonies is a huge responsibility. The colonies must be protected, and the needs of the colonists must be taken care of by the British. The colonies, over time, became expensive to operate. The purpose of having colonies is to make money. As the cost of running the colonies increased, the British were making less money. When the British asked the colonists to share in the expense of running the colonies, the colonists fought this idea. When these disputes led to rebellion, these wars were very costly for Great Britain. Eventually, the British lost their colonies as the colonies became independent, not just in the United States, but also around the world.