preview

19th Century European Imperialism

analytical Essay
1194 words
1194 words
bookmark

The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the 18th century, and came to Europe gradually, growing more powerful each year as new machines added efficiency to people’s daily lives. But where was Europe getting all the raw materials needed to fuel this sudden growth of industry? Although colonialism had existed for centuries already, the Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed its nature. The technological advancements caused an increased need for raw materials and cheap labor, which turned into a political scramble between the European powers, who justified their colonialism with racist social ideologies. Industrialization provided both the means and motivation for 19th century European imperialism, as countries and companies seeked …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains the industrial revolution began in great britain in the 18th century, and came to europe gradually, growing more powerful each year as new machines added efficiency to people’s daily lives. the technological advancements caused an increased need for raw materials and cheap labor, which turned into a political scramble between the european powers.
  • Explains that industrialization provided both the means and motivation for 19th century european imperialism.
  • Analyzes how nationalism and growing imperial power spurred political competition for supremacy among european nations.
  • Argues that european imperialists justified their exploitation and abuse of the "primitive" native people of their colonies with ideologies of false social superiority.
  • Explains that european imperialism negatively affected the economy and public health of china, amplified ethnic conflict in india, and turned vietnam’s economy into a proto-capitalist system.

While France controlled much of West Africa and Madagascar, Britain was more interested in East Africa, where their “influence could be exercised” (Doc 4). It was a race not only for power and prestige, but also for spheres of influence. An American Political cartoon from the 19th century depicts the imperial domination of China between British lion, Russian bear, and the American eagle (Doc 6). The major powers established their own spheres of influence in China but kept an “equilibrium” so the power never became too concentrated. They did this, of course, with little regard for the demands of the emperor of China himself. A similar comic depicts the powers cutting up China like a piece of pie; Queen Victoria of England and Kaiser Wilhelm II squabble over a bordering piece, while Nicholas II, the French Marianne, and a samurai of Japan carefully think which pieces they would like (Doc E). This divide of power is similar to what went down in the Berlin Conference, where the European powers divided Africa amongst themselves without consulting any of the African leaders in power. After one country claimed a territory and exerted their influence, every other country wanted to do the same. Carl Peters, a German author, encouraged colonization because other European nations held colonies “where their languages and customs can take firm root and flourish” (Doc 9). Some imperial governments imposed their language, culture, religion, and systems of government on their colonies, which lasting effects today. Although European colonization was widely accepted at the time, some critics voiced their opposition. In Denis Diderot’s criticism of Bougainville’s Voyage, he questions the unethical seizure of European colonies (Doc 1). The natives of these conquered places often actively resisted imperialist rule, but usually failed due to their oppressor's technological

Get Access