The White Man 's Burden Essay

The White Man 's Burden Essay

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In the 18th to 19th century the factor determining the everyday life of many people was egotistic, uncompassionate nations of ‘superior’ cultures and religious doctrines. These nations with their superior ideals studied and applied imperialism to nations, they thought were uncivilized. According to Merriam Webster Imperialism is ‘the effect that a powerful country or group of countries has in changing or influencing the way people live in other, poorer countries.’ Imperialism was an era of major changes, in which for the better and the worst, the imperialized nations were affected. Many poets and philosophers commented on imperialism in their writings, some were in agreement and others were opposed of imperialism. One of these poets is Rudyard Kipling, whose famous poem The White Man’s Burden both encourages and belittles the act of imperialism. Although Kipling’s purpose in The White Man’s Burden suggests that the white race have an obligation as the superior race to civilize uncivilized nations, he also considers that if the imperial countries continue treating the natives as inhuman and exposing them to violence and suppression, their end will be unrealized.
Kipling’s poem the white man’s burden cautions the United States on the habit of violence- although it provides results- to accomplish their purpose of civilizing less developed countries. In The White Man’s Burden, Kipling proclaims, “Take up the White Man 's burden the savage wars of peace… and when your goal is nearest the end for others sought, watch sloth and heathen folly bring all your hopes to nought.” Kipling is advising the imperialist that attempting to “civilize” the conquered natives by force is hopeless and guaranteed to fail. In particular, the situation in t...


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...natives of Africa. In 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Hume exclaimed, “All conflict is about difference; whether the difference is race religion, or nationality.” Difference, essentially brings conflict that enacts mistrust in the persons involved. Kipling understood this and proposed that peace comes from the togetherness of the world as a nation.
The burden of civilizing uncivilized people of the world is, to Rudyard Kipling, the burden that the white man has to carry on his shoulders. Kipling’s belief in cultural superiority drives his belief that imperialism is righteous. However, Kipling was not overly optimistic that the way the imperialist were executing their goal would get positive results. He hypostasized that the imperialist purpose would be unfulfilled that if they continued treating the natives as inhuman and exposing them to violence and suppression.

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