Britain`s Slave Empire and Global Imperialism essay


Britain’s Slave Empire and Global Imperialism

Britain’s Slave Empire and Global Imperialism

At the end of the eighteenth century, Britain sought to dominate theworld through slave trade and its economic policies. Many writers andpoets among them, Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson and Olaudah Equianochallenged the British politics, patriotism, nationalism and slavetrade. In Burke’s speech regarding the conciliation with theAmerican colonies, it is evident that there were conflicts betweenhuman rights and the rights granted to people by the English law. Forexample, Burke points out that the poor people of Britain had noright to own property since the government and the church hadpolicies that restricted land ownership by individuals (Burke, 2012).Economics played a lot in the actions of the British governmentbecause they captured people to become slaves and then denied themtheir rights to own property. Burke’s speech openly criticized theBritish slave empire and enlightened the public about their humanrights, which weakened the British Imperial policy.

Equiano wrote an article entitled, “The Interesting Narrative ofthe Life of Equiano” describing how he was captured and sold to theslave traders. The narrative depicts that the British capturedchildren and made them slaves in their empires. Those who were notassociated with the government were denied their civil and libertyrights. Equiano worked with the authorities in many instances andthus, he was not a slave since he managed to purchase freedom theBritain government. The British were key participants in thetransatlantic trade, and it is evident that this was part of theirbroad economic policies since they kidnapped people in Africa andsold them to the slave traders (Equiano, 2012). Equiano’s narrativemight have weakened the British culture and politics because the lifeof Equiano depicts that even the slaves could get education andtransform their lives.

In Johnson’s brief to free the slaves, it is clear that the Britishviolated people’s rights, and it was a time when poets, writers andmusicians challenged the government to protect these rights. Johnsonargues that the government should grant and protect the rights of thepoor and the enslaved people (Johnson, 2012). He adds that in theirtimes, slaves could not get educated due to restrictions laid down bythe British Imperial Policy. The author also shows that Britainperpetrated slavery for ages in order to save on labor costs, therebyappearing as the strongest country on earth. The brief might havechallenged the British policies particularly on issues of civil andliberty rights.


Burke, E. (2012).&nbspSpeech on conciliation with America.New York: Cosimo Classics.

Equiano, O. (2012).&nbspThe Interesting Narrative of the Life ofOlaudah Equiano. Lanham: Start Publishing LLC.

Johnson, S. (2012). A Brief to Free a Slave. In Greenblatt, S., etal. The Norton Anthologly of English Literature (9th ed., Vol. 1).(pp. 3032-3033). New York City, NY: W. W. Norton.