Colonial Rule and the Rise of Nationalism

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Nationalism is defined as the aspiration for national independence in a country under a foreign domination. Many Nations in South East Asia (SEA) was under colonial rule in the 1900s. However, overtime, it dawns on to the locals that nationalism is the next best alternative to colonial rule- due to the policies imposed on the natives that were supposedly to bind them socially, politically, and economically; many felt oppressed and wanted to break away from colonial rule as Nationalism has its antagonists as well as its protagonists.

In the 1900s, strong western powers seek ¡¥help¡¦ from various countries to help them in the quest for raw materials to make their own country even stronger. This led the West to take reign in the Southeast Asia. The western powers claimed to be liberating Southeast Asia from poverty but actually it was done with an ulterior motive; to exploit the abundant raw materials readily available in Southeast Asia. One example is the case of the Dutch Eastern Indies. The Dutch introduced the ¡¥Liberal System¡¦ in 1870. Under this scheme, Dutch investors could not own any land however, they could only lease the land- even if it was to be rented for generations. The more fertile land was subjected to higher taxes; and the taxes imposed were often very much more then they were earning from farming. This enabled the Dutch to take the best and most fertile land denying any chance for local farmers to expand. When it was time to pay their taxes, the farmers had difficulty paying the full amount and many of them had to sell of their farms to pay off their taxes. Although this system was said to lighter the burden of Indonesian farmers, it created more problems for the locals. As the country was prospering, the Dutch hired more Chinese workers to build more plantations for the Dutch. This led to tremendous increase in the Chinese population. This angered the natives Indonesians because they were supposed to be the majority of the country. Their...
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