Gallagher and Robinson’s approach and interpretation: Britain’s informal Empire
In the 1950s Gallagher and Robinson suggested that Britain’s economic and cultural influence over some independent states amounted to ‘informal Empire’. This was true for Britain’s relationship with China and S. America. From the 1830s to the 1860s, the British government intervened in these regions with the intention of removing barriers to British commerce and finance. Britain was the dominant partner in the subsequent economic relationships. It has been argued that some states came to reply on Britain’s commercial and financial contributions to such an extent that they were compelled to make decisions that were beneficial to Britain. If they did not, British goods and capital might go elsewhere. Gallagher and Robinson’s approach involved constructing a theoretical concept (informal Empire) which they then attempted to match against the ‘facts’.
The approach and interpretation that emphasises the limitations of metropolitan power
Some historians have argued that were serious limitations to the power of British influence, and that the impact of informal…