DMPQ-Trade and commerce became a tool of exploitation in the second stage of British colonialism.” Discuss.

This was a period of exploitation through trade and is also termed as Colonialism of Free Trade during the 19th century. Immediately after the East India company became the ruler over most parts of India, an intense struggle broke out in Britain to determine whose interests would the newly acquired colony serve. Britain was after 1750 undergoing the Industrial Revolution. The newly developing industrial capitalists began to attack the East India Company and the forms of its exploitation of India. They demanded that colonial administration and policy in India should now serve their interests which were very different from those of the East India Company. They did not gain much from a monopoly trade in Indian products or from the Company’s control over Indian revenues. They wanted India to serve as a market for their ever-increasing output of manufactured goods, especially textiles. They also needed from India exports of raw materials, especially cotton, and foodgrains. Moreover, India could buy more British goods only if it earned foreign exchange by increasing its exports. Increasing exports were also needed to enable dividents of the East India Company and profits of British merchants and earnings and pensions of British.officia1s to be transferred to Britain.

The beginnings of the change occurred with the passing of the Regulating Act of 1773 and Pitt’s India Act of 1784 which were primarily the result of intense struggle within the British ruling classes. The East India Company was saved and given a reprieve by the French Revolutionary Wars after 1789. But the Company gradually lost ground. By 1813, when another Charter Act was passed, the Company had lost most of its political and economic power in India; the real power being wielded by the British Government which ruled India in the interests of the British capitalist class as a whole.

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