Imperial Federation Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886.
This map shows the British empire in its 19th century heyday. John Stuart Mill participated in English rule over India for most of his adult life. Following in his father's footsteps, he entered into the service of the East India Company at age 17. In 1856, more than thirty years later, he rose to its chief administrative post. At the time, the Company – a private enterprise – exercised direct rule over the subcontinent. It was not until 1858 that – reacting to a major Indian rebellion – the Crown took over and stripped the Company of its political power. Mill believed that British dominion over India and the other imperial lands was justified. He did not hold racist views, but he believed that the colonies benefited from an English civilizing mission.
Boston Public Library via Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.