Imperialism: the White Man's Burden

Topics: British Empire, United Kingdom, Imperialism Pages: 3 (890 words) Published: May 23, 2006
Imperialism: "The White Man's Burden" and the "The Real White Man's Burden"

Well in order to show how imperialism was used in the nature of those two poems, I have to define it. Imperialism is the extension of sovereignty or control by one people or state over another. The objective is the exploitation of the controlled people or state. Imperialism has four major components: economic, military (strategic), political, and humanitarian. Imperialist powers are not bound to follow the laws, international laws and conventions. Imperialist powers make the laws. During the 19th century, British foreign policy had a goal to contain Russia and to secure strategic links to British imperial possessions in Asia and the Near East. This policy was in the best interests of British imperialism, which was the overriding concern in foreign relations. India was a major British colony. To safeguard the routes and sea-lanes to India, an alliance was needed with Turkey. The superiority of India in British imperialism had consequences for Eastern Europe. Britain was committed to maintaining the status quo in the Balkans because of the increasing strategic importance of the Mediterranean.

Now what was going on before all of this imperialism came about? British power and dominance in the mid-19th century was based upon several factors, one of the key factors being economic power. Britain was at the head of the Industrial Revolution which meant that as a nation Britain had the material resources to become a great power. In 1769, Richard Arkwright constructed a spinning machine, the water frame, which resulted in large cotton mills and the emergence of the factory system, an important first step in the Industrial Revolution. Cotton textile mills were a major industry in this early period. Massive cotton textile mills were established requiring a large work force. The invention of the steam engine in 1769 by James Watt was a further boost because Britain had large resources of coal...
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