New Imperialism Essay Research Paper Starting around

New Imperialism Essay, Research Paper

Starting around the 1870?s and lasting

until around 1905, western nations began what is today called ?New Imperialism.?

The major powers of the western world started to gain a need for expansion.

Italy, France, Great Britain, United States and Germany started to feel

the pressure being exerted on them by each other and realized that in order

to stay on top and remain the a western power they must stretch their boundaries

across seas. During this time period imperialism was a common theme

amongst the populations of the western nations and many very influential

people wrote and preached the need for expanding their particular countries

influence. There were three reoccurring explanations given by people

in favor of expansion: the need for more land and resources in order to

better suit the rising populations in the countries and increase economic

chances for them, the feeling of social Darwinism meaning only the strong

and powerful will survive and be on top when it is all over, and finally

most of the countries that are being considered, want to be under the rule

of the western powers. All these factors lead to this brief but extremely

large ?imperialistic explosion.?

A very common explanation for imperialism

which people were using was the need for more territory in order to allow

the population to expand culturally and economically. The rapid increase

in population in Europe and the industrial revolution started causing an

overcrowding in cities and serious need for jobs in order to maintain order

throughout the different countries. Many countries held the belief

that if a population increase was to continue at its current pace, then

sometime in the near future individual countries could no longer support

itself and provide jobs for the majority of the population. The United

States felt the need for expansion because of the massive flow of immigrants

into a recently developed nation and was not prepared for such a dramatic

increase in the overall population. A common view was that the foreign

territories could provide a vast new amount of natural resources as well

as new agriculture. Also, once colonized, the new territories would

provided a new region to sell its goods from the homeland and at the same

time export more goods throughout Europe and North America. Because

of the tariff barriers that most of the powers had, there was little room

for exports. According to a Frenchmen of the time, Jules Ferry, ?

exports are essential for public prosperity. Both demand for labor

and scope for capital investment depend on the foreign market.? (Wiesner

pg. 252) With the rise of the industrial revolution a larger market

for various products had developed and with the resources and fertile lands

of foreign territories, economic growth was inevitable. With the

increase in employment in the western world, people started a demand for

new goods. It was clear that the customary thought of the western

powers was that there was no escaping the need for new territories in order

to export and import more goods. The people all knew that in order

to gain these new territories and to insure and better economic future

that there would be a cost. There would have to be a significant

amount of money used by the government in order to send and army over to

the new lands. Once the army was to arrive it was evident that there

would be some sort of fighting and with war comes loss of lives.

None the less expansion was necessary because ??it is less secure

and more expensive to endeavor to cultivate three million hectares of barren

land? than to insure the prosperity of a large agricultural colony??(Wiesner

pg. 257). Because of, at times, the intense rivalry between the western

powers all the nations felt the need for expansion in order to remain not

only a military power but an economic power.

During this period of ?New Imperialism?

many countries made the realization that this time period could be the

last chance for them as a nation to build up their empires. On account

of this idea many people developed a sense of ?Social Darwinism.?

This is the assumption that humans are involved in a struggle for supremacy

over each other and for those nations that could come forth victorious

will be considered the most worthy to be called a western power.

Because of this idea, the exploitation of the weaker nations ?by laws of

nature? was not only allowed but also encouraged. By following in

accordance with this new ?law,? eventually a better world for everyone

will result. In 1879 a German used this way of thinking to try and

urge his fellow country men to move on expand as a western power:

??More important is the consideration

that one nation which is led to the height of political power can only

maintain its historical position as long as it understands and proves itself

as a bearer of a cultural mission. This is at the same time the only

way which guarantees the existence and growth of the national well-being,

the necessary foundation for a lasting development of power.? (Wiesner

pg. 249)

Not only did people have the over bearing

feeling of imperialism, but also they wanted to be the first to do so.

Many living at the time knew that it was impossible to avoid the expansion

of other nations so why not pave the way for the other countries thus showing

their willingness to take the ?torch? and lead all into the new era.

To many the British Empire was a prime example of imperialism. By

gaining so much territory during the initial wave of imperialism, England

had an enormous economic advantage as well as military advantage with naval

ports located all over the globe. Countries like Germany, Italy,

and France came to the conclusion that they too could have such power and

cultural strength because in many cases there armies were exponentially

bigger than that of England. In light of this ?Survival of the Fittest?

attitude, people held it as their duty to stand up and speak out for imperialism

because it would not only benefit there own country largely but also the

territory to which the conquer would reap the overwhelming benefits that

they had to offer.

Possibly one of the most interesting explanations

for imperialism, as we look back on it today, is the idea that these colonies

needed to be influenced by the different powerful nations. The opinion

that the natives of the different land required the help of western control

in order to become more civilized people. Europeans felt that, as

a powerful nation, it was there ?burden? to educate those that appeared

savage and to introduce them to western society. In one instance,

John G. Paton urges the British to gain possession of the island of New

Herbides before the French. Paton goes on to say: ? The sympathy

of the New Herbides natives are all with Great Britain, hence they long

for British protection, while they fear and hate the French?and certainty

it would be unwise to let any other power now take possession and reap

the fruits of all this British outlay.? (Weisner pg.250) According

to Paton, they not only need to acquire New Herbides for there own profit

but also largely to prevent France for adding it to there empire and putting

the British colonies in the surrounding area in danger. It was popular

belief that to those countries that had civil war occurring were in need

and virtually calling out for help from the various nations to establish

peace even if it means colonizing them. One of the most important

reasons that much of Europe wanted to colonize foreign territories was

to spread and educate the natives about Christianity. The western

powers felt that in order for the natives to become ?civilized? that they

must first learn the teachings of Christianity. European powers did

recognize the natives current religions and their ethnocentric views lead

them to believe that the inhabitants of the different lands across the

world were not only in need but asking for European interaction in the

altering of their cultures. The belief that foreign lands required

the assistance of the western powers in order to become amore civilized

and developed nation eventually became a major factor that influenced imperialism

from the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

During the brief but very effective period

in which Germany, Italy, France, United States, and Great Britain all strengthened

their empires and it helped to alter the world. Because of the fierce

competition for new territories between these western powers a new attitude

was formed that ultimately led to a scramble for new unclaimed land.

The western nations felt the intense pressure to expand and believed that

they needed more land and resources in order to support the growing population.

Throughout Europe, the belief that only the strongest nations will survive,

and finally the belief that many of these potential colonies needed the

help of a western power in order to bring peace and become more civilized.

The period called ?New Imperialism? made an enormous impact on the commercially,

on the humanity, the spread of Christianity, and the political makeup of

the western world and its new colonies.


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