Steve (as 41oo) wrote:
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Steve (as 41oo) wrote:
The British Empire is not and will never be a footnote in history. We founded the modern world.
Before we can consider the origins of the modern world we need, I suggest, to define the modern world.
Which you failed to do.
Britain was the first country to industrialise. The British Empire was truly global in reach. We spread the English language and British law and commercial trade practices around the world. Like it or hate it, globalisation, international banking, modern capitalism as we know it started with Britain and its Empire. Therein is Britain's claim to have founded the modern world imo.
Everyone has such thin skin around here. I absolutely agreed with your primary assertion that the British Empire will never be considered a footnote
in history, but I contended that your claim, on behalf of the UK, to being the fount of modernity was arguable. Do you really believe it is not? Such absolute assurance in one's statements is remarkable, if not admirable.
You used the term "modern world," Steve and therefore I thought it might be most appropriate for you to offer a definition.
If the accepted definition of modernity is industrialization, then I suppose you are right, however, if I remember my history (and no doubt Setanta will correct me if I err here) the Modern World
is defined by considerably more than industrialization. In fact, as I recall, the Industrial Revolution, which it can easily be argued the Brits took the lead with, is but one of three revolutions which are generally considered to have given birth to the Modern World
. The other two, of course, are the French Revolution, and the American Revolution.
The French and Americans were far more responsible than the British for putting an effective end to absolute monarchies. If one owns a widget making empire, perhaps industrialization is a greater force in the Modern World
than democratization, but I think a fair argument can be made that, at least, a parity of effect exists.
The ascendency of English to the status of lingua franca is a dubious hallmark of the Modern World
, but, to the extent that it is of any significance to post 18th century history, it is impossible to ignore the role America has played in it achievement.
Personally, I have a tremendous respect for English Common Law, however to suggest that it is a notable feature of the Modern World is quite arguable
. A far more Modern
body of law is the Napoleonic Code, and the fact that the British Empire imposed a form of law with origins in the Feudal Age on conquered and colonized lands is not a mark of modernity.
As for Englands impact on modern commerce, well I'll leave that to Setanta to debate.
I am an unabashed anglophile, and an admirer of the aggregate accomplishments of the British Empire, but to cite it as the founder of the Modern World is simply not accurate, and the claim that it is, is certainly difficult to tolerate from someone who consistently seeks to put the American Empire in its place.