The Making of Empire, I: India, New Imperial Structures 1765–1783


in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226665
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706813 | DOI:
The Making of Empire, I: India, New Imperial Structures 1765–1783

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The rapid growth of British territorial power in India thrust responsibility for ruling millions of people on the East India Company, a trading body seemingly quite unfit for such tasks. Yet to place India under the immediate control of the British state rather than the Company was a proposition repugnant to most eighteenth century opinion. It was feared that a state takeover of India's supposed wealth would upset the balance of the British constitution. State intervention and periodic legislation to attempt to regulate the Company and make it more fit for its responsibilities were, however, inescapable. At home the national government established its power to supervise Indian affairs, while a Company civil service evolved in Bengal capable of engaging with the problems of Indian administration. At the same time the Company developed a large army comparable to that of the crown. It was becoming an instrument of empire subordinate to the British state.

Keywords: British Empire; East India Company; British state; public opinion; British constitution; civil service; Indian army

Chapter.  10708 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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