Each imperial power used different strategies for acquiring and later maintaining control over colonial possessions. The strategies differed based on the legal and societal structure of the colonizing power and local environment but typically had two main similarities.
Thesis: European powers entered a region and established a colony with a purported philanthropic mission then use various tactics to subdue and control the indigenous population.
First analyzing the Belgium Congo, King Leopold acquired the colony after a well-publicized philanthropic mission. As Adam Hochschild wrote in King Leopold’s Ghost (1998), Leopold very publically advertised that he intended to end the Arab slave trade, morally uplift the Congolese population and advance science. Each was a noble mission and ones which were difficult to oppose. However, in order to properly run a colony and maintain control over the population the situation in the Congo ground was vastly different.
The French entered Senegal and West Africa with a similar mission. As Conklin argues in A Mission to Civilize, the French were on a mission to civilize by bringing French republican ideas to morally and culturally uplift the local population. This took the form of eliminating existing societal structure and installing a French education and legal system. These steps, it was hoped, would bring the African people closer to achieving the maxim of civilization and full incorporation into the French Republic.
The common theme of a morally righteous imperialist was used to justify the existence of colonies. The technique used to maintain the colonies, however, were wide-ranging. The colonial administration in the Belgium Congo used a number of vi...
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...nthal presented, colonial administrators often deviated from official policy. Racial motivations led colonial officials to take rights away from German citizens for being mixed race. Such opinions were upheld by the highest German colonial courts shifting the power structure of the German colonies from one based on patriarchal hierarchy to one solely reliant on racial hierarchy.
The development of racial theory and the corresponding racial hierarchy was used to justify continued oppression of the colonial population. French West Africa employed racial rationale for the purposes of withholding rights. In a similar vein, German colonial possessions were able to evoke racial hierarchy to strip rights from mixed blooded German citizens.
Introduction of Scientific backings for race
Race overtaking cultural difference as African culture more closely reflects European
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