In lieu of my brother leaving for London this week and my current topic of study in AP United States History, this post will be all about England. Over the course of my schooling every one of my history classes has emphasized the role of English imperial rule in the development of the country. Growing up in India, I was constantly reminded of the impact that Britain had on the development of India. The large territory divided into many nations finally came together during British rule, unified by a common cause. British rule also aided the development of infrastructure like railroads. On the other hand, English rulers also abused Indian workers and placed steep taxes on the already-struggling farmers. As we learned about the imperial rule, I was taught to revere famous leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and follow their main principle of non-violence. I grew up watching historical movies, including Lagaan, which demonstrated the hardships that individuals faced during British rule.
When my family moved to America, despite all the changes, one thing remained static: the topic of British rule in my history classes. Starting with the first colonies and ending at the revolutionary war, England has been omnipresent in American history. In elementary school we did various simulations revolving around the colonial era. I specifically remember reenacting the Boston Tea Party. During lunch everyone on our class bought chocolate milk. We then went outside and dumped it into the ‘ocean’. In middle school we wrote DBQs focusing on the triangular trade. Now finally in high school I am taking a U.S. History course. The first five chapters have focused on the development of early colonies and the discord of British rule. Now that we have already spent over 10 years learning about the basics of British rule we are delving into the specific acts, rebellions, and disputes like the Townshend Acts, the formation of the Continental Congress, etc.
Although I have learned about England all my life, it has always appeared to me as a faraway land; one that despite my ancestors connection, seems highly unrelated to my life today. This opinion of mine has recently changed. My brother, who is entering his junior year of college is studying abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. When he left for school yesterday, it finally hit me that our world is highly interconnected. England finally seems a little closer and more impactful in my life.