What was the nature of colonial rule in the British Empire?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the nature of the question is one that enables many different directions.  I would say that one aspect of the nature of the British Empire was to display a sense of all- encompassing reality.  It is out of this time period where the idea emerges that "the sun never sets on the British Empire."  Consider that by 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time, and covered almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area.  This represents the nature of control that was such a part of the British Empire, seeking to control anything and everything in its sights.  This also helps to bring out how violence was a part of this.  The British Empire would not have gained to such an extent and grown as large as it did without a sense of violence and repression that accompanied it.  From enslavement and subjugation to putting down indigenous movements with a sense of brutal force, the all- encompassing nature of the British Empire has to be seen with a simultaneous element of its violent and repressive nature, seeming to indicate that the nature of the former is only possible with the nature of the latter.

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