Topic: Politics & GovernmentGovernment

Last updated: December 5, 2019

An Illustrated History of Britain is a history Britain traces the development of the nation from prehistoric times to the present day . This book gives a lot of information not only about England but also about Ireland, Wales and Scotland. However, some sections or subjects are written by an Anglo-centric point of view. In addition, in these sections some obvious truths/facts are subtly distorted. While reading the book, I came across some points that really caught my attention much, and it made me look for further information; accordingly, I saw that just like many English, the book does not want to mention these inconvenient truths.

First, poor people naturally organized in little, but British government always stopped them before they even acted. We know that for sure many poor people died in search of their basic human rights. The book says that there were riots in which eleven people died and many were wounded. However, it is very naïve to say that because British government at that time was very brutal and tyrant. They must have killed more than 11 people. It is easy to say 11 people. When modern-day British people read these lines they will not feel nervous or bad for those 11 eleven people.

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On the other hand, what if the book said 1000-5000 poor people had been killed by the government? Everything would be much more difficult than it seems and of course would affect reader’s point of view. Second, the book says Britain prevented a revolution like in France because they did this thanks to their free constitutional/democratic government, but it was not nothing of the kind, for most of the poor did not have the right to vote. Britain was not envy of the world at all because this very country used its all power to overpower its subjects who naturally scared and stayed quiet and who did not even dare to speak of politics. Therefore, Britain seemed as though it was an archetypal of democratic country, which is rather naïve to say.

Moreover, there is another point in the book worth noting: “A wife was legally a man’s property, until nearly the end of the century.” Britain had not valued the women of the time at all. Nevertheless, it is very ironic that today this very country judge other middle-eastern countries about the same issue. They do not know they had the same situation a half century earlier. Next, in 1832 cholera, a disease spread by dirty water, killed almost 31.000 people.

It is again very naïve to connect almost all of these deaths to a single disease, for we are sure that in this period the rich lived in a great comfort, whereas the poor were left to the jaws of death. Moreover, many poor died of hunger, and it was government’s responsibility to feed its subjects. All of these casualties cannot only be related only a sickness.

The book tries to put the blame all of these casualties on nature – disease, which is an oversimplification. Another issue the book referring is that Lord Canning helped the Greeks achieve their so-called freedom from the Turkish Empire in order to satisfy romantic liberalism in Britain. It is ridiculous to put this simple matter in such a situation. Nevertheless, we know that English at that time did almost everything to use protect their country’s interest around the world, especially in Anatolia.

They knew very well that if they used Greece as a pion, which they did, they could collapse the Turkish Empire easily, thus assuring their interests.


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