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Research Papers on British History

There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.  It was more than just a cliché.  The strength and power of a tiny island in the North Atlantic reached across the globe in one of the mightiest empires history has seen.  But the British Empire has faded into history, and British policy makers have struggled with the question of redefining Britain’s role in the modern world, especially in relation to the United States and the European Community. A research paper on British History should include on how Great Britain has evolved over the years. There are fundamental era's in British History that a research paper should include. These are:

  • British history can be traced back as far as the first humans to settle in the British Isles, evidenced by the ancient and mysterious formation known as Stonehenge.
  • In 40 CE, the Romans invaded and conquered much of Britain, ruling until about the year 400 and witnessing the founding of the city of London.
  • During the Medieval period, Britain was a collection of small kingdoms, and experienced invasion and settlement by a number of Germanic tribes, including the Angles and the Saxons. These people became the Anglo-Saxons, the forerunners of modern England. In
  • 1066, the Normans invaded, tying British history to that of the continent, especially France.

Early Modern British History

British history in the early modern period is marked by foreign and domestic warfare, including revolution and civil war. With the reign of James I, England and Scotland were ruled by one monarch, which eventually led to the 1707 Treaty of Union, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw Britain build one of the largest global empires in history, due in large part to the supremacy of the British navy. During the reign of Queen Victoria, it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. While Britain’s empire declined in the 20th century, the United Kingdom remains both a major world power and a cultural global force, from Shakespeare to the Beatles. Great Britain is also a major voice in the European Union.

Great Britain in the Modern World

  • What are the realities of the United Kingdom’s role in the world? 
  • How have these attitudes that critics deride shaped Britain’s policies toward the rest of the world? 
  • And, perhaps most importantly, what power does the United Kingdom yield on the world stage?

The altruistic level argues that Britain (and other Western nations) promote certain “grand principles”—peace, democracy, human rights, and Third World economic development—as natural corollaries to the basic priorities, both political and economic, that have guided foreign policy over the last half century.  This point of view maintains that the Western states have achieved a level of freedom for their own citizens that is unsurpassed in history.  Therefore, it is the duty of a nation’s foreign policy to attempt to bring the grand principles to the rest of the world.  Doing so will promote Western levels of peace and prosperity.
Underlying this is a sense of arrogance.  The United States and Great Britain have been close partners in the postwar world, whose foreign policy aims have been, if not parallel, then sympathetic.  What the above argument assumes is that “the American (and/or British) way of life is best.  An anthropologist might label such an attitude ethnocentric.  In the world of global politics, where might creates influence, this attitude could be labeled arrogant presumption.  Perhaps the constant difficulties that Western nations have in relation to other areas of the world (the Middle East or China, for example) can be traced to the conflict between the attempted imposition of these “grand principles” and local resentment of Western arrogance.

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