AP European History
Mr. Brad Pflugh
6 May 2013
Analyze attitudes toward and evaluate the motivations behind the European acquisition of Africa colonies in the period 1880 to 1914.
We live in a world today in which the consequences of nineteenth-century Western imperialism are still being felt. By about 1914 Western civilization reached the high point of its long-standing global expansion. This expansion in this period took many forms. There was, first of all, economic expansion. Europeans invested large sums of money abroad, building railroads and ports, mines and plantations, factories and public utilities. Trade between nations grew greatly and a world economy developed. Between 1750 and 1900 the gap in income disparities between industrialized Europe and America and the rest of the world grew at an astounding rate. Part of this was due, first, to a rearrangement of land use that accompanies Western colonialism and to Western success in preventing industrialization in areas Westerners saw as markets for their manufactured goods. European economic penetration was very often peaceful, but Europeans (and Americans) were also quite willing to force isolationist nations such as China and Japan to throw open their doors to Westerners. Second, millions of Europeans migrated abroad. The pressure of poverty and overpopulation in rural areas encouraged this migration, but once in the United States and Australia, European settlers passed laws to prevent similar mass migration from Asia. Particular areas around the world had different views on imperialism and how it
affects the day to day life. Those that where pro imperialism had ulterior motives for being so (including and remembering the point of view of each person), and some that where anti-imperialism think they have justified reasons for overtaking the land. A noble from Belgium, in a social atmosphere, proceeded to describe the advantages on having imperialism. But Belgium had political, economic , and social motivations to be pro-imperialism such as land and help from the natives in war(Doc 1).But then some Belgium’s disagreed with this claiming it could be a disadvantage in all aspects of the countries well being(Doc 6). Along with two politicians, and a business man, and a noble man, with all possibly having other motives, from Britain arguing that imperialism would be a political advantage to the country, along with economic and social advantages as well. (Doc 2, 4, 5, 7).But then you have the other view from a politician/noble who thinks the complete opposite of the other men (Doc 8). Again not all countries felt this way. Germany was one country that did not agree with imperialism. They thought it was a Political and Economic disadvantage to support and allow imperialism exist (Doc 3, 9).And then you have a view from France that all three of these politicians age that it is in the best interest of France to invest and promote imperialism(Doc 10,11, 12). As many can see imperialism is a very touchy subject with many people and a very vast amount of opinion come out of the different countries. Even though some of the most important people in the country believe that imperialism is in the best interest of the country and can have its advantages, some people can see through the ulterior motives, causes some countries to split and not be able to agree. All countries have their doubts about imperialism, but unfortunately in the times of imperialism, the middle class mans opinion doesn’t matter. A third aspect of Western expansion was that European states established vast political empires, mainly in Africa but also in Asia. This "new imperialism" occurred primarily between 1880 and 1900, when European governments scrambled frantically for territory. White people came, therefore, to rule millions of black and brown people in Africa and Asia. The causes of the new imperialism are still hotly debated. Competition for trade, superior military force, European power politics, and a racist belief in European superiority were among the most important. Some Europeans bitterly criticized imperialism as a betrayal of Western ideals of freedom and equality. Western imperialism produced various reactions in Africa and Asia. The first response was simply to try to drive the foreigners away. The general failure of this traditionalist response then led large masses to accept European rule, which did bring some improvements. A third response was the modernist response of Western-educated natives, who were repelled by Western racism and attracted by Western ideals of national independence and economic progress. Thus, imperialism and reactions to it spread Western civilization to non-Western lands.