Imperialism: Culture and White Men

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Question: What do Rhodes, Roosevelt, Kipling, and Sarmiento share in their vision of white men’s role in civilizing the world? Week 1 Reading Response
In the assigned readings, Rhodes, Roosevelt, Kipling, and Sarmiento advocate the expansion of civilization to be carried out by white men. The authors begin their arguments with the uncivilized living conditions in the late 1800’s, moving on to benefits of the English rule upon other nations. Civilization is depicted to be the best for the world in term of politics and economics supported with strong opinions about the greatness of culture and system of the Empire. In fact, Rhodes does not favor the idea of immigration, for he considers it to be a degradation of a civilized society due to the surface of various cultures. Furthermore, he articulates with emphasis that only the English rule would be able to better the world in this case. Likewise, Sarmiento speaks positively of the civilization to be done upon Argentina by the Europeans. Sarmiento is against the ascendancy and tradition of the savage Rosa, for they led the colonial subjects ruled by the gauchos. Although Roosevelt and Kipling do not emphasize the English rule, but they do encourage the white men of the United States to step out and serve their duty. What is the duty? These authors share a common perspective of white men’s duty, which is to civilize people all over the globe from the barbarism and indigenous cultures.

According to these authors, other ethnics and races besides the white race do not qualify to be civilized. Thus, the white men have the responsibility to lead the world into civilization. In order to carry out their duty, white men’s culture is advocated to expand without a limit to other parts of the world including South America, Africa, and so forth. To put it another way, imperialism is believed to improve the world only under the influence of western education and civilized life style bestowed by the white men. The ideology here...
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