Thank the British Empire?

OK Prager U this video might be too much for me.  I fully share my sainted Mom’s ambivalence to all things British.  She taught me all the Irish rebel songs, but she also loved the Queen.  The speaker on the video, H.W. Crocker III, has written the best one volume history of the Church, Triumph, that I have ever read.  He also wrote the Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire that I think even Sir Winston Churchill would have thought went over the top in its adoration of all things British.  Oh well, below is the Prager U video followed by two videos that highlight my conflicted feelings to the land of Magna Carta and Henry VIII:








More to explorer


  1. The British colonial administrators seem to have had a knack for imparting to local elites a rough understanding of how to navigate electoral systems and public debate. When assessing what influences outcomes in this regard, you have to include ‘former British dependency’ as an independent variable.

  2. The success of British colonization, was primarily due to the superiority of the British navy. The British navy’s superiority was primarily due to the ability to calculate latitude and longitude, and that required a clock on board every ship as a common time standard that was portable. It still exists as Greenwich Mean Time.
    History is a funny thing.

  3. Ya, that’s a steaming heap of dung. Talk about parochialism. As if Western Europe and the building of Christendom had nothing to do with the foundational principle of Western civilization, respect for individual rights.
    The Irish, the American Founding generation, the Indians, the Boers… the list goes on. Wherever the sun rose on the English empire, it arose on tyranny and oppression. What this person is suggesting is akin to the argument that slavery was not so bad after all, since it introduced the slaves to Christianity. A good incidental effect may have an absolutely immoral cause.

  4. Well, it wasn’t very free for Catholics for centuries. The American colonies were infused with English anti Catholicism…. not so much as to ask for help from France and Spain, but what the heck?

  5. On this day, September 12, the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of Mary, I thank the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Winged Hussars and King Jan III Sobieski for freedom. Britain didn’t go much to fight Islam back then.

  6. As a sci-fi devotee, I’ve read several alternative histories in which the Colonists lost the War of Independence (do a Google search “alternative history Americans lose war of independence”). I don’t know but that a parliamentary system might have been better than what we have now, slavery abolished in the 1840’s and no Civil War. Whaddya think?

  7. Agree with Crocker’s “Triumph” – a bit of triumphalism 🙂 – but it was very good. His adulation of the British Empire is a little OTT, but for the time, mostly the British did very well – even the British Raj in India had more positives than negatives.
    In the case of my own country – Godzone – There was a scramble between the British, French, Russians and Americans as to who was going to claim our land. The Maori people who had been here for around 500 years saw what was happening elsewhere – the French in Tahiti, the Russians in North Eastern Asia and the Americans on the prairies etc. with the indigenous populations (also the British in India) The confederation of Maori chiefs, along with some British, French and Scadinavian whalers and sealers who had settled here, decided to invite the British to sign a treaty – some maori cheifs had visited England 20 years before – anf they chose the British because of the Justice system which they believded was the best available at the time. The land wars came later between 1848 and 1880 – caused mainly by greedy land speculators and an over exuberant locao militia in the way they administered the law. Many treaty agreements were broken, and we as a country are still settling greivances to this day.

  8. BTW, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in February 1840, and is looked on as the founding document of our country.

  9. Penguins Fan “Britain didn’t go much to fight Islam back then…”
    Unless you count the conquest of the Mughal Empire in India.

  10. Penguins Fan wrote “Well, it wasn’t very free for Catholics for centuries.”

    True, up to a point, but social class had a habit of trumping religious differences.

    At the Meeting of the Estates in Edinburgh on 20 March 1689, following the Glorious Revolution, a proclamation was issued “that no papist, nor any having commission from them, exercise any office or jurisdiction civil or military; and that the papists be disarmed over all the kingdom by the ordinary magistrates and officers of the militia, excepting gentlemen wearing swords.”
    They may have hated and feared “papists,” but they were not prepared to reduce gentlemen of blood and breeding, even “papists” to the level of “rude mechanicals.”

  11. The Irish, the American Founding generation, the Indians, the Boers… the list goes on. Wherever the sun rose on the English empire, it arose on tyranny and oppression.

    The alternatives in the world in which we actually live were not between the British Empire and some anarcho-libertarian dreamworld, but between the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, the French Empire, the Russian Empire, and whatever the local bosses were offering. (And one favor the British did the world in 1899-1902 was to put the Boers in their place; their error was in taking their boot off the Boer neck).

  12. I think it’s largely an illusion based on trying to find a common thread that ignores other angles– things like cultural traditions that became toxic, or that the English had to find a way to cope (even if rather badly) with colonies that weren’t part of their religion, which helped divorce public displays of religion from power-seeking. (Kinda ironic, huh?)

    Still made me smile, though, and my grandmother was along Donald’s mother’s lines!

  13. There might not have been a dominion system and a commonwealth of nations if the Brits hadn’t been afraid that the Canadians were going to stage 1776-Part 2. They came pretty close.

  14. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa were not formally sovereign until 1931. “Imperial Union” remained a live option as late as 1917.

  15. “Imperial Union” remained a live option as late as 1917.

    Yes, and possibly even later. It is interesting the number of early 20th century British Prime Ministers who were NOT born English: Arthur Balfour (Scotland), Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Scotland), David Lloyd George (Welsh, though not in Wales), Bonar Law (New Brunswick), and almost Jan Christiaan Smuts (South Africa, Churchill’s preferred successor during WW2). With modern technology and federalism the Brits could have pulled it off.

    Perhaps the bigger question is, what if India and Ireland achieved home rule before 1914?

  16. “That the Southerners would no more have cherished being ruled from London that being ruled from Washington.”
    True, but they would not have held out for 4 years.

  17. Penguins Fan: “Britain didn’t go much to fight Islam back then…”
    MPS: “Unless you count the conquest of the Mughal Empire in India.”
    No dice. Arguably the Brits co-opted Indian Muslims and Sikhs into conquering their Hindu neighbors. Almost the same as the English arguably co-opting the Scots for their 19th century imperial exploits.

  18. “No, they probably would have won if 1776 is any guide.”
    Really? I’d assume the Northern states would have looked more or less the same, plus Canada, plus the British Isles all together? No CSS Alabama because the outfitting would have been illegal, right? Of course, the conflict would have come earlier with the abolition in 1833 (perhaps Southern Senators in a fictional Congress in London could have delayed past 1833? hmmm. That timing would have had a big impact on the railroad and telegraph aspects).
    What would an 1830-1850 Confederacy (esp post 1840) have going for it against the entire British empire, including the North? No Lincoln to rally the troops against it. Can’t think of much else

  19. One thought: an 1850 Confederacy succeeding from the Empire might also have to deal with Mexico. One could imagine the Foreign Office in London offering to give Texas back in return for assistance. Alt-Hist is fun, ain’t it?

  20. “Really?”

    Yeah, the Brits had a very hard time winning the Boer War against a minute adversary. The Brits in the mid nineteenth century specialized in a small professional army that would have been ill-configured to conquer the vast territory of the South. In regard to the North, I think they would have sought not to be involved. What would they care? There would have been no Union to fight for, and they might well have been restive themselves under British rule.

  21. Good point about the Boer War. I see I have hours of research ahead. More fun 😉
    In regard to the North, I’m assuming that an Empire that turned back the original 1776 would have learned from its mistakes and gone the Dominion route earlier, as much of this thread debates, so restlessness would have been minimized. And, it’s still the Union, just writ large.

  22. No, it would have been the Empire, a different concept with different loyalties. I think a punitive war against a rebellious South might have been as unpopular in the Empire as the effort to subdue the United States was during the American Revolution. Jeffery Amherst, victorious commander in the French and Indian War, for example, refused to be the British commander against Americans during the Revolution. Alternate history is fun and leads us down many byways.

  23. P.S. The one alt-hist in a 1830-50 Confederacy’s favor would have been London’s “no settlement beyond the Appalachians” policy. Would they have kept it after the failed 1776 revolution (possibly) and could they have made it stick (possibly not – and if not what happens)? That would appear the big wildcard in a premature Confederacy vs Empire struggle. The North might have been weaker. Fatally so?

  24. TomD wrote, “Almost the same as the English arguably co-opting the Scots for their 19th century imperial exploits”
    One could argue they co-opted the Scots in the early 17th century for the plantation of Ulster (and very successful it was, too)

  25. TomD wrote, “It is interesting the number of early 20th century British Prime Ministers who were NOT born English…”

    Also Ramsay MacDonald (Scottish), PM twice in the inter-War years.

    Since WWII, we have had Harold MacMillan, who was of Scottish descent, Lord Home (Scottish, but born in London), Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (both Scottish). David Cameron’s father was born in Blairmore House, near Huntly, the son of a landed Scottish family.

  26. This year marks 20 years since Hong Kong reverted back to China. Although it’s not a Crown Colony anymore, you can see the influence the British left on Hong Kong.

  27. “One could argue they co-opted the Scots in the early 17th century for the plantation of Ulster (and very successful it was, too)”
    Very true MPS. My mother’s family was descended in part from them.
    “Also Ramsay MacDonald…”
    Yes, I was rushing and missed him. I stopped at WW2 because Smuts made the best example of a possible leader of an Union Empire (a Federal Union of all Dominions) and because the only time a Union Empire might have happened was WW2.

  28. Grew up listening to irish rebel songs,mom 100% Irish,dad 50% Irish 50% English.Made life interesting.He admired the empire,she didn’t

  29. The British Empire was, like all empires, a mixture of good and bad. The empire’s second greatest sin was its policy of colonization; the greatest was granting independence too soon before most were ready for it, American colonies excepted.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: