America is rightfully known as a country built upon the concept of natural rights and a limited government which cannot violate those rights. Where did Americans first learn these ideals? The British Empire, whose promotion of the ideas of individual liberty and limited government ultimately gave birth to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Historian H.W. Crocker III explains in PragerU's latest video that the British believed that "freedom was an Englishman's right — and wherever he went, he took that right with him."
"Whether he was an English colonist in America, governing himself through a locally-elected assembly; or an English adventurer, like Sir Stamford Raffles, creating the free-market city-state of Singapore; or an English officer, like T.E. Lawrence, leading Arab tribesmen against the Turks, the British always thought of themselves as liberators, as bringers of freedom," says Crocker.
Crocker adds that the British Empire governed with "benign neglect" instead of attempting to nation-build.
"Think about the vast territory of the Sudan — it was governed by 140 British civil-servants," explains Crocker. "Even Gandhi praised the British Empire, paraphrasing Jefferson, saying that he believed that the best government was the government that governed least, and that he found that the British Empire guaranteed his freedom and governed him least of all."
The British Empire used their power to end the slave trade, even going as far as paying off slave traders in order to free slaves. They also worked to end barbaric practices occurring among "warring tribes and religions."
"When Sir Charles Napier was confronted by the practice of suttee — widow-burning — in India, he told the Brahmin priests involved that he understood it was their custom," says Crocker. "But the British had a custom, too: They hanged men who burned women alive, and their goods were confiscated."
"So, if the Brahmins insisted on continuing their tradition of widow-burning, then he would insist on following his British tradition of hanging the murderers of widows," he continues. "Widow-burning in India soon ceased."
The British were also key figures in eradicating Nazism and communism in the 20th Century and gave Ireland the idea to form a republic.
"If you love America, you should also love the power that gave us our sense of inalienable rights — rights traceable back to Magna Carta," Crocker concludes. "It all started in America with the British Empire, a great, liberty-loving empire. It is the empire's legacy — the English-speaking world — that remains the great global guardian of freedom today."
The full video can be seen below: