The Tools of Empire Essay

717 Words Feb 20th, 2011 3 Pages
Looking back over the millennium now ending, one question in particular stands out: how did the inhabitants of Western Europe, a backwater in the year 1000AD, manage to gain economic and military dominance over much of the globe? Not so long ago, the answers to this question seemed obvious: Europeans were racially superior, and besides, God wanted them to win. As historians have shed race-driven and providential views of human history, new explanations have had to be formulated. Some of these new explanations are surprising; most of them conflict at some point with each other. Imperialism has been linked to multiple theories of the actual origins of the imperialistic
Headrick uses the argument that technology made the creation of empire a
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One of the most important tools in this phase was the steamer. These were ships that were equipped with a low pressure steam engine that drove a paddle wheel by converting the steam energy into kinetic energy, the energy of motion. The first steamers into India were two ships known as the Diana and the Pluto. These ships were brought in to be used as pleasure steamers for Nawab of Oudh (Hedrick 19). This ship was then commandeered by the British during their war with the Burmese in 1824. The Diana was the greatest investment the British could have acquired, it used its engines to pull sailing ships into lines and its loud cannons and fiery engines struck fear into the heart of their enemies. During this time the Select Committee on Steam Navigation to India was formed. The purpose of this committee was to recommend plans to British investors. The committee questioned three people, Thomas Love Peacock, Francis Rawdon Chesney, and Macgregor Laird. The committee asked each experienced witness to share with them the fastest and most economical route to India. It was decided that the British would back both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian overland routes. The British then had another need to call on the power of the steamboat during the first Opium War in 1839. This war was started when the British kept smuggling Opium to China. The East India Company, who had had power over there for years felt, threatened when the
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