Our modern society and world as we know it
Our modern society and world as we know it, has been heavily affected by the imperialistic choices made by countries and colonies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Forces most responsible for new imperialism included the economic force of survival of the fittest, social influences of racism, and politically growing governments. Although the examples are few, they are part of the most significant in explaining imperialism.
When thinking about the economic consequences of imperialism, the industrial revolution usually comes to mind. This factor did participate largely, seeing as it expanded, countries wanted colonies for few reasons. One reason was that they could get resources for cheap from their colonies rather than if they bought those resources from other countries. Having colonies also gave a country a guaranteed market where it could sell its goods and make money. As pointed out in the following evidence in Document 1 “The makers of cotton and iron goods have been very much interested in imperialism. This group of import interests has been greatly strengthened by the demand of giant industries for colonial raw materials…”, certain groups were more interested in imperialism than others. However effective this actually was, this arrangement would help the colonial power’s economy. Another influential idea, Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest”, was necessary during this time. According to Document 5, William Langer states, “Psychologically speaking, … evolutionary teaching about “survival of the fittest” was perhaps most crucial. It not only justified competition and struggle but introduced an element of ruthlessness…”. These motivating words concluded that some countries had to act quickly proving that they are the strongest, fastest, and smartest. These ideas helped shape the economic structure, being responsible for new imperialism.
One more explanation for the cause of extending a country’s power and influence was ethnocentrism. The British, along with others, believed they were the superior race. That concept brought about views of racism. In Document 4, a successful British imperialist claims, “I contend that we Britons are the finest race in the world, and the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for human race… It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes that more territory simply means more of the… best, most honourable race the world possesses.”. This confession of Cecil Rhodes persuades Britain to pursue a policy of imperialism. No matter how uncivilized this sounds, people surprisingly went along with it. Countries did, and said barbaric things in order to enhance their power. Racism can take the social blame for influencing new imperialism. Sadly, another illustration of prejudice is expressed in the poem “The White Man’s Burden”. In Document 6, the line “Take up the white man’s burden” can be meant that although the Germans do not have a large navy like the British, they have Europe’s attention. It also says to the White Man “be done with childish days,” meaning that the United States could help civilize people in the Philippines. This desire to “…uplift and civilize and Christianize them…” stated in Document 7 pushed along the new imperialism forward. White Americans, like the British, tended to assume that they were culturally better than the people they were setting out to conquer. In conclusion, that conviction was essentially responsible for the social consequences of imperialism.
The most important event impacting imperialism was the continuous growth of the government. The quote “the sun never sets on the british empire” implies that the British are repeatedly moving, establishing their government gradually. In Document 9 it shows European imperialism in Africa Britain’s several colonies all around the world. The key shows that Africa was colonized by European nations and how Europe’s government was growing stronger. The cause for imperialism is stated in Document 3. “…None of the colonial undertakings was motivated by the quest for capitalist profits; they all originated in political abominations…the nations’ will to power…or glory or national greatness.” It presents that Europe’s hunger for control led them to colonize Africa.