Imperialism: Western Justifications
Imperialism can be defined simply as the domination or control of one country over another. This action or attitude of dominating and controlling foreign peoples has, and always will be a hot topic for debate. Two men from different cultural backgrounds, but from around the same time period, give speeches in which they oppose the anti-imperialist views of their time. In July of 1883, Jules Ferry of France, expressed his imperialistic views to the French Chamber of Deputies, and in February of 1899, Theodore Roosevelt expressed his views to the U.S. Senate in his Chicago speech, “The Strenuous Life.” Although Ferry and Roosevelt were on the same side of the argument their justifications for imperialism differ. This can be attributed to both their political agendas and the audience in which they are speaking to.
Jules Ferry was a French politician and passionate imperialist. He frequently defended his policies in debates in the French Chamber of Deputies against both socialist and conservative critics, who for different reasons were anti-imperialist. In Ferry’s 1883 speech he begins by saying, “the policy of colonial expansion is a political and economic system; I wish to say that one can relate this system to three orders of ideas: economic ideas, ideas of civilization in its highest sense, and ideas of politics and patriotism.” In this statement Ferry lays out three points that in his mind justify imperialism. In the area of economics he goes on to explain that trading goods with other nations is essential for a countries survival. In order to strive as a nation France needs to increase export markets. Ferry seems frustrated with the fact that the U.S. and Germany have become almost impossible to export goods too, through various barriers and tariffs on imported goods. It is through this protectionist mentality of these large markets that Ferry concludes France must look elsewhere to export their goods....
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