Imperialism 2 Essay, Research Paper
Imperialism is the policy or practice of extending national power over other states or areas, often by annexing territory. The term imperialism is most commonly identified with 19th-century colonialism and the carving of the globe into “spheres of influence” by the European powers due to many changes brought by the Industrial Revolution and nationalism. It has existed in every age of history from ancient times like the Zhou (Chou) and Qin (Ch’in) dynasties in China (1027-206 B.C.), the Maurya in India (321-185 B.C.) that provide early examples of empire building, Athens, which also provide early examples by trying to establish political and military power over the Greek city-states that led to its ultimate defeat in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), and other Roman empires to World War I and II when it took over in a new form. Just like other world powers, it also had many positive and negative effects on the world.
The positive effects were long-term effects that helped the different areas of the world to become more advance and have power. On Africa, an introduction to new European medicine improved nutrition by increasing the life span of Africans, leading to an expansion of population. The positive effect that it had on Japan was that feudalism ended and western technology was adopted. A constitution was caused and written through these ideas. Not only did Japan introduce modern technology, but China also played a big role in it too. That is why Japan is the most advance country in technology today, along with China. After that, Guang XI organized western style schools, promoted economic changes, and issued laws to update the civil service exam. British rule in India brought many changes to their country. For instance, the East India Company was under the control of the British government. The British also built hospitals, railways, schools, and colleges to improve education and transportation. A very interesting result of these actions was that the English language became part of the British government. The modern progressive nations satisfied the needs of the people by bringing them food, other goods, and the manufacturers that they needed (as in document 1). They also provided a single system of law and government by unifying all of India. Finally, they provided famine relief to the country and introduced new medicines. This helped enhance the image of European powers by colonies offering raw materials and products in order to treat the mother country (much of France’s empire as refered in document 9), spurred on by the Industrial Revolution. All these effects somehow helped and was accompanied by the growth of the bourgeoisie (merchant class or middle class) to have centralization of political power in the hands of absolute monarchs and by the quest of European explorers to have precious metals and other trade goods in the New World and in Asia in 16th-century. Mercantilism, sea power, and the establishment of powerful national armies provided for a new wave of imperialism both within continental Europe and far beyond its boundaries. Nicol Machiavelli, who was a 16th-century Italian diplomat and political thinker, explained such expansion as a natural expression of human aggression and is probably why Europe expanded its power in different ways and forms.
The negative effects that it had on the world were many, especially with China and Africa. In the 1800’s, China went through a short period of chaos. After the Opium War, it was hard for China to trade. China was forced to stop their illegal drug trading activities and had to face the modernizing Europe. However, the peasants weren’t happy over the new rules that China had set. As always in history, this only leads to revolts and fighting, which caused the dynasty to weaken. In the 1900s, after the Boxer Rebellion, the Boxer’s killed many Chinese Christians and foreigners. During this time, Japan was badly in need of money. They sold factories and buildings to private owners in order to gain money. Japan also wanted to introduce Western Ideas, such as unity and equality. The Meiji Restoration caused the people to force the shogun to step down and to restore the emperor to power. This led for Japan to expand and become powerful. Another negative effect was that the British treated the Indians very poorly (racism) and turned them into slaves. Their conditions were terrible and worked very long hours. In turn, this led to another effect, which was the abolishment of the East Indian Company. As a result, India became a British possession and the mutiny was put down. After this, Europe, including the British, turned to the Africans. They also were turned into slaves because dieseases and other things slowly caused the Indians to die out. African values, such as culture and background, were destroyed because of Europe’s domination. Their social relationships was something else that was also destroyed with it. In 1884-1885, Europeans met in the Berlin Conference to make decisions about dividing Africa. This made African nations to experience many tribal conflicts because the Europeans divided Africa by ignoring tribal, ethnic, and cultural boundaries. As it shown on document 10 on the imperialism DBQ, Africa is scrambled because many countries or nations controlled it such as Britain, the Dutch, France, Germany, Italy, and other Europeans. One of the most powerful negative effects could probably be racism. Somehow imperialism was linked to concepts of racial and moral supremacy. It was rationalized as “The White Man’s Burden” (the so-called duty to bring civilization to backward peoples). According to documents 4, 5, and 8, it shows that “The White Man’s Burden” came to Africa to overrule and show “white power” as the greatest power of all. This most likely caused Africa to be ruled all over its continent by different European powers, due to the effect of nationalism which helped the idea of imperialism to take place and made it very effective. However, the Western Hemisphere (most of Latin America) came under the influence of commercial and financial interests in the United States, which made them profit from it.
Imperialism was to me a system that was just like a parasite feeding off a host which was a conquered land or country such as Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This system also know as colonialism (as stated in documents 1, 2, 3, and 6) was a political and economic control of one area or country by another. This system led to the control of Africa, Asia, and parts of the Americas. It was able to help the economy of Europe to indulge in a money infested business that was a dream to good to be true, but to the colonized nations it was a big problem that couldn’t be solved. It was only solved through time and failed plans so that others can learn from it and build upon it so that when a revolution is established it will prevail against the oppressor. The renew of imperialism was most likely an effect of land competition at the time when Europe was competiting for new land. Today our technology, ideas, and theories derive from the positive effects of imperialism that has gotten us where we stand today. It eventually came to an end due to the independence and freedom of many countries but had a great effect on us. To close it up, imperialism was good in the eyes of the beholder but bad in the eyes of the captives.