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Imperialism

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Keywords: political, social, imperialism, war

DBQ 15 Essay

Whether for political, social, or economic reasons, imperialism is a controversy. First world countries have always been intervening with the governments of third world countries. These first world countries, that include theUnited States, Britain, and several European countries, have in the past exploited less fortunatesfor resources, capital, and knowledge. Yet in return countries located in South America, Africa, andSoutheast Asia have gained the technology and capital that, over a period and development,improves their quality of life.

Political ideals were a large part of imperialism. A great deal of these political ambitions came from nationalism. Reasons include expansion of borders, and the urge to become a stronger nation by becoming a larger one. In addition, because of European industrialization, nations had an increased need for various resources, such as cotton, rubber, and fuel. As nationalism grew at home, citizens began to desire more troops for their army, and thus colonies were needed to provide more troops, as well as naval bases and refueling points for ships, as explained in this quote by Parker T. Moon, Imperialism, and World Politics, "Shipowners demand coaling stations for their vessels and naval bases for protection" (Doc.1,8,9). Also, capital gain has a large part in politics as this quote explains by Raymond Aaron, The century of Total War, "None of the colonial undertakings was motivated by the quest for capitalist profits; they all originated in political ambitions; the nations' will to power; or glory or national greatness" (Doc.3,7). According to the authors, they said that the cause of imperialism is because of capital profits.

Another important aspect of imperialism comes from the social niche of government. Missionaries, doctors, and colonials believed that they had a duty to spread their culture and help them to governize. This idea is known as the White Man's Burden, which is further clarified in this poem by Rudyard Kipling, " Take up the white man's burden, send forth the best ye breed, Go bind your captives' need; To wait, in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild, Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child." This poem emphasizes the burden that a first world country has toward ones in desperation (Doc.4,6). Europeans argued that European races were superior to others, and imperial conquest and destruction of weaker races were simply nature's way of improving the human race. This concept was known as Social Darwinism.

The main reason for imperialist expansion was likely the economic needs for a country who wanted to achieve great power. Both Britain and Japan are great examples because of their geographical layouts as small islands without much land to work with; there is little to no possibility for them to become world powers without expanding. As small islands, Japan and Britain do not have the natural resources to fuel their growth; Japan in particular could not produce much petroleum, which was a fast growing energy source. Gaining colonies also opened up new markets for its imperial homelands, which contributes to their economic and military powers(Doc 2,5).

Imperialism is a large part of History, it was an era of time which great expansion took place following the industrial revolution. Political, social and economic facets of imperialism including the urge to become a stronger nation, the burden to help those in need, and the power struggles to create a stronger economy. Imperialism was a crucial part for the expansion of first world countries.


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