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The Age of Imperialism Essay

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The Age of Imperialism The age of imperialism 1850-1914 was caused by the needs for the Industrial Revolution. Many rulers of powerful nations wanted to change their culture values, class systems and government systems. The white race or the Europeans felt superior to others, they felt as if they needed to “civilize” men of other countries. They felt that they needed to conquer them and convert them to Christianity and modernize their country. This was known as the “White man’s burden” which was their idea for civilizing non-European countries.

They wanted to take over their political and economic life and take control of their natural resources. This would help increase European markets and satisfy the needs of the Industrial Revolution. Europeans applied the ideas of Social Darwinism, “survival of the fittest” and “confessions of faith” as some of their ideas of imperializing other countries. Others did not agree with the thoughts and ideas of imperialism one man being John Atkinson Hobson’s and his writings in “An Early Critique of Imperialism”.

Joseph Chamberlain discussed in ” The British Empire: Colonial Commerce and “The White Man’s Burden” he discussed the welfare of the Britain depended upon the preservation and extension of the empire. He felt that the Empire had a responsibility to carry their way of civilization, religion of Christianity and British law to the “backwards” as he would call them, people of Africa and Asia. They would use these other colonies to foster trade and served as a source of raw materials while benefitting from the civilizing effect.

Believes that the half the population of the British Isles would not last for a single day if Britain was to pull away from its empire. England is not able to support the large population which is now being taken care of by foreign trade. These overseas markets are necessary in order to increase demand in the domestic economy. Also felt that the Navy should be strengthened in order to control these overseas colonies, because if they were to rebel, the first to feel its repercussions would be the London working class. Overseas domains were only justified if the relationship was going to be mutually beneficial on both parties.

But they felt that initial peace cannot be instated without a little bit of bloodshed. Finally Joseph Chamberlain Believed in English “Manifest Destiny”. In Karl Pearson work, “Social Darwinism: Imperialism Justified by Nature,” he uses the scientific theory of social Darwinism to justify the subjugation of certain nations in the name of evolutionary development. Throughout history there is proof that certain races are better than others. And even though the destruction of one race can be seen as a bad thing is, it eventually will lead to a better humanity for example the Native Americans in America.

Also if there is no struggle for mankind to exist then there would never be any signs of evolutionary progress. Nations now must put their brightest minds up front in order to protect and serve their future. This can seem unfair and cruel it is very important for any kind of development amongst the nation itself and its people. According to Darwin’s Origins of Species it is the process of nature selection and evolution. He felt that the weaker ones will be unavoidably weeded out by the stronger ones. His theory had caused philosophers, sociologists, and others began to come to the conclusion that human society had also evolved.

Herbert Spencer had the idea of social Darwinism and has published a large number of books regarding the concepts of survival of the fittest. He argues that the unfit should “not be prevented from dying out”. His whole idea is based on the favor of competition and individuality. In his theory, he also talks about how the government should involve itself as little as possible. He felt that the government should not give aid to the poor because since it would only promote laziness and many other matters they would be able to abuse. Why waste the government’s money and tax dollars for someone who cannot even help themselves.

At the end of the nineteenth century, leaders from European nations wanted to expand their empires to try to reach higher economic gains. In “Confession of Faith,” imperialist and wealthy diamond mine owner Cecil Rhodes addresses his opinion that Britain has the right to conquer certain land in the world with the help of the British citizens. In his writing he talks about his beliefs on how imperialism is the main component to political and economic power. He shows how British nationalism was a large factor to Britain’s expanding their territories.

Cecil Rhodes wanted nothing more in life than to serve his country. He believed that the Anglo-Saxon race should be the ruler of the world. “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the better it is for the human race. ” He felt that any other race other that his should not exist. And people who were born and were not raised in the Anglo-Saxon race are a complete waste to him. He wanted to make the British Empire a superpower in which all of the white countries in the empire would be represented in the British Parliament.

Rhodes was in favor of British imperialism, so much that he was willing even to have the US rejoin the British Empire. His belief in the advantages of empire was reflected in the attitudes in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and any other country that held overseas possessions. “Why should we not form a secret society with but one object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire. In John Atkinson Hobson’s “An Early Critique of Imperialism” he discusses on his negative views of the new imperialist system, unhappy with the justice system and how it has become. Imperialism increased the violence upon themselves and other colonies. Because of the increased violence it causes tensions with other countries and their military’s. He feels that imperialism is unjust stating that they are like business men only looking out for their own interest while controlling the public’s money and the military. Imperialism will result in violence and will often escalate into something worse maybe even war.

For example cites such as India, Uganda, Rhodesia, West Africa and Sudan were brutally colonized by the British. Because of all of this it uses up the resources of Britain’s military. It is just a way of using an excuse to colonize and dominate weaker people/civilizations. Because in the effort to westernize and bring civilization to foreign civilizations there are no promises made that it will be done peacefully. Hobson finds imperialism to contradict itself by saying they have all the enlightenment principles but show no respect to the government.

The people who are being controlled by the government are used for labor in which they have no involvement with what the government says and does. In this statement he shows his disagreement with the government “This failure to justify by results the forcible rule over alien peoples is attributable to no special defect of the British or other European nations. It is inherent in the nature of such domination. ” Finally he feels that diplomacy has become unsteady because there are a lot of points of disagreement between the European powers.

The political aspect of imperialism progress is to take a weak country and turn it into a strong fighting nation. For example, when the French were taking over parts of Africa, the communication of the two countries increased and they started to share the Suez Canal. Also when the British government set up a system of Colonial rule, it controlled over 280 million Indians. This made officials to learn new languages. The social aspect of imperialism was very important because the colonization of countries scientist were able to find causes and treatments to diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Also Britain built canals, roads, and railways which opened up India’s interior. The Spanish improved the Aztecs cities by making public waterways, paved and lighted streets, and a new invention the printing press. The society increased but when it enhanced the economics boosted also. The economics of imperialism is a major reason why nations would take over other countries. In Africa they introduced better farming techniques like dykes and irrigation canals, which boosted the money growth.

The British improved their medical care which included doctors being given new education lead to a growth in the population. Finally the Spanish exported crops and raw materials, making fortunes for the new government. In conclusion, imperialism is a way of advancement. This is used against countries that are not strong enough to defend for themselves. In most cases the economic value of the new country will increase. This proves that imperialism advances a countries politics, society, and economic value into a powerful money making country.