Essay about The Advent of Imperialism

Essay about The Advent of Imperialism

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The Advent of Imperialism

We live in a world today in which the consequences of
nineteenth-century Western imperialism are still being felt. By about
1914 Western civilization reached the high point of its long-standing
global expansion. This expansion in this period took many forms. There
was, first of all, economic expansion. Europeans invested large sums
of money abroad, building railroads and ports, mines and plantations,
factories and public utilities. Trade between nations grew greatly and
a world economy developed. Between 1750 and 1900 the gap in income
disparities between industrialized Europe and America and the rest of
the world grew at an astounding rate. Part of this was due, first, to
a rearrangement of land use that accompanies Western colonialism and
to Western success in preventing industrialization in areas Westerners
saw as markets for their manufactured goods. European economic
penetration was very often peaceful, but Europeans (and Americans)
were also quite willing to force isolationist nations such as China
and Japan to throw open their doors to Westerners. Second, millions of
Europeans migrated abroad. The pressure of poverty and overpopulation
in rural areas encouraged this migration, but once in the United
States and Australia, European settlers passed laws to prevent similar
mass migration from Asia.

A third aspect of Western expansion was that European states
established vast political empires, mainly in Africa but also in Asia.
This "new imperialism" occurred primarily between 1880 and 1900, when
European governments scrambled frantically for territory. White people
came, therefore, to rule millions ...


... middle of paper ...


... the wisdom of the East. Whether this is so or not, the violent
breaking down of the characteristic institutions of Asia to satisfy
some hasty lust of commerce, or some greed of power, is quite the most
fatally blind misreading of the true process of world-civilisation
that it is possible to conceive. For Europe to rule Asia by force for
purposes of gain, and to justify that rule by the pretence that she is
civilising Asia and raising her to a higher level of spiritual life,
will be adjudged by history, perhaps, to be the crowning wrong and
folly of Imperialism. What Asia has to give, her priceless stores of
wisdom garnered from her experience of ages, has refused to be taken;
the much or little, which we could give, we spoil by the brutal manner
of our giving. This is what Imperialism has done, and is doing, for
Asia.

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