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The British Empire gained significant land share within North America through its conquests and emigration. From the founding of Jamestown to the growth of the greater New England region, the North American territories represented a significant portion of the British Empire. Following the Seven Years War, England won the entire territory of New France and doubled the territory possession within North America. Although from a trade perspective North America was not the furtive economic zone that Britain originally envisioned, it did become a several exporter of tobacco, cotton and rice to the British Empire, as well as naval material and furs from the northern region. The American Revolution affected the British Empire in several different ways, it proved to be a symbolic blow the largest empire of the European Continent, and it provided a model for liberation and freedom throughout the rest of the colonial territories. The American Revolution occurred as a result of strict British rules against trading outside of defined British parameters. It resulted in the Boston Tea Party and a plethora of legislative attempts to control colonial trade. In the ensuing military defeat of the trained British army at the hands of George Washington was a severe blow to the invincibility of the British military. At the same time, the alliance that was created between the colonies and other European allies showed that colonialism was no longer a model that could be completely trusted. In a territorial sense, the loss of their North American territories did not significantly weaken the British Empire; it still had control over many other intercontinental territories. However, from a psychological perspective, it symbolized an important turning point within colonialization in general and the ultimate collapse of an Empire.
The modern world has changed substantially within the past century, not only has the world seen two world wars, but it also saw the advent of the nuclear age, the age of computer technology, the rise of communism and finally the growth of social and political changes that have led to globalization. Through of these successes and failures, the world that has developed today faces an entirely different set of problems from past generations. The interconnectivity between nation-states and the erosion of national borders have complicated relationships and created a host of new problems. In the following discussion we will examine three contemporary problems that are rooted within the global historical context.
One of the foundational problems of the 20th century is the erosion of nation-states and the establishment of centralized governmental bodies that span the breadth of many nations. Following World War I, the failed attempt of unity through the League of Nations represented the beginning of a desire for global unity. The United Nations became the tangible embodiment of this growth towards unity and globalization. Through its activities, world governing bodies have been created that monitors the behavior between nations and creates policies that have global implications. The problem that have developed from the globalization movement is the erosion of national sovereignty and the blending of national borders. The most significant movement is the development of the European Union. Within the article, "A United Germany in and a United Europe," it is clear that the development of the European Union has had a significant impact upon our fears of national sovereignty. Germany, which has occupied a central position as a the enemy of both World Wars now occupies a central position within modern Europe and thus the EU. There power position combined with the erosion of national borders have clearly shown the problems and the hesitation of many nations to accept the emergence of globalization. However, Germany like other nations that have had questionable pasts all realize that within the new era it is essential to develop strong relationships with the international community. Therefore, a repeat of their historical crimes are not possible within the modern state precisely because of globalization and the national transparency that this has created.
Another major problem of the 20th century has been the development and continued presence of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear threat consistently consumes the world because in the modern era, there are now nine countries that have the ability to instantly destroy millions of lives. The amount of nuclear warheads currently in the world could destroy the entire planet many times over. The nuclear threat originated in World War II when the United States used it to end their invasion of Japan through the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, the nuclear threat has always been a potent weapon in any conflict, its use was encouraged during the Korean War and even now the possibility of its construction and use brings about global conflict, specifically in our current war in Iraq. The reason that the nuclear threat has such a palpable tension primarily can be traced to the Cold War, where the nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union created a strong military and social tension surrounding the concept of nuclear weapons. Nuclear capability became the standard for achieving world power, as each country that developed a nuclear program had to be recognized as a premier world power. As a result, dozens of rogue states, with North Korea being the most recent, have made attempts to develop nuclear technology. The threat of Nuclear War is a tangible one, and the destructive consequences that it would bring still casts a large shadow across the world.
The final contemporary problem that we will discuss is the abuse and exploitation of second and third world nations. Under the auspicious banner of globalization, multinational companies from developed nations have begun to move of their labor and production needs to underdeveloped nations. The development of "sweatshops" throughout the world has become a significant problem of exploitation. This problem in itself stems from a historical tradition of oppression from European colonialism. Countries within South America, Africa and Asia suffer from severe exploitation not only for its labor force but also for its physical resources. Many African nations are being exploited for their source of raw materials such as diamonds at the cost of inhumane living conditions. The problem of exploitation is a significant problem within contemporary global issues, because it represents a policy of colonialism of the past generation. Although this problem is being slowly rectified through global monitoring and UN intervention, it is a still a very tangible issue for multinational corporations. The only way that this solution can be solved is through the development…[continue]
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