The Importance of Human Rights and Moral Care throught King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild

The Importance of Human Rights and Moral Care throught King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild

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When reading the book entitled King Leopold’s Ghost by author Adam Hochschild, there are many themes to which the book plays an interest to. King Leopold II of Belgium had an interest in the greed that colonialism brought the prospect for power and fame, and lastly the desire for slavery through the means of racism. In doing so, the book also explains the necessity for human rights and a type of moral care for not only Africa but the world as a whole.
Now what must be said is that King Leopold was not the first European ruler to carve out his own area in Africa, Congo in particular for King Leopold II, for either monetary reasons or power-hungry control. The British and French had been there long ago, doing just that. The distinction though, with King Leopold II, is that he was a ruthless leader who desired the profits that could be made off of slave labor in Africa. His intentions were true at first, maybe. He called for a way to help civilize the Africans and open up free-trade for the world and for Africa. In addition, he also called for a type of “paternal” care for the people of Africa, regardless of race. It was seen as a philanthropic endeavor to help the people of the Congo to civilize by the use of legitimate trade. So we first see that the aspirations of this King of Belgium, on paper, where just and true. The story would become quite different as the ruthless king would start to harvest the precious materials of palm oil and rubber from Africa’s earth.
King Leopold was not alone in this venture as well. He employed the services and help of Morgan Stanley to travel to Africa and sign treaties with various kings and rulers of Africa to gain their territory. The book does a good job of telling the lust that King Leopold...


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... his spine”. Rev. Sheppard saw, firsthand, his friends and ones he loved be killed and tortured at one of the rubber plants in the Congo. Alice Harris took pictures of the disfigured and beaten Africans to show the world the cruelty which had been used upon the laborers. The book does a good job of showing these various pictures and giving the reader a visual representation of what really happened and what it looked like.
Overall, King Leopold II of Belgium was a monster in his own right. Even though he wasn’t there personally beating, whipping, and torturing the Africans, he was guilty for allowing the atrocities to occur under his rule and reign. Thanks to the various people of that time to show and illustrate the horrors of the rubber plants in the Congo, the avaricious King was forced, in a sense, to resign his hold upon the Congo and leave it once and forever.

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