What Was Driving Force behind European Imperialism in Africa: Essay
The expansion has often been viewed as an important factor in advancement, especially by Western Europeans in the 19th and 20th centuries as they colonized newly–discovered land. Western European countries justified imperialism by explaining that they needed more outlets for exports, allowing them to be more productive and that the future and wealth of European countries depended on their ability to obtain and colonize uncolonized areas. Western Europeans accomplished imperialism by imposing harsh governments, having the natives of the colonized land perform harsh labors, and guarding their land fiercely. Colonization affected Western Europe in both positive and negative ways, as they had more success with their crops and economy, but was met with uprisings due to tension and resentment felt by those whose homes were colonized. Colonization affected those who had their homes colonized in many ways, such as by large amounts of the native population dying due to new diseases brought by colonizers, people being separated from their ethnic groups as a result of boundary changes, and natives losing control over the future of their colonies. Because Europeans managed to justify and accomplish imperialism, imperialism affected both the Western European countries that colonized other countries and the lives of the natives of the colonized countries.
Western European countries justified imperializing new land by claiming that they needed more outlets for exports and that the future of their countries was mainly dependent on the expansion of their territories. Western Europeans viewed colonial expansion as “a need, felt more and more urgently by the industrialized population of Europe… the need for outlets [for exports]” (Doc 2). From the perspective of someone living in a country in Western Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, colonial expansion seemed like a reasonable, effective way of growing one’s economy. Obtaining more land provided more outlets for exports, allowing more products to be sold and thus increasing the Gross Domestic Product, or the total value of goods or services produced in a country (Rubenstein, 2017). When the productivity of a country increases, the economy grows and advances, which was the main goal of Western European countries during that time. A second way that Western Europeans managed to justify imperialism was by explaining that the future and wealth of their countries “depend above all on the extension and prosperity of our colonies. When factories produce more than consumers need, work must stop for a time… once the French genius is put to colonization we will find a draining of the overflow of our factories” (Doc 5). It is again explained that colonial expansion is vital to increasing productivity. The overflow of products without anything to do with them was a problem, not only because the products were not able to be sold for profit, but because factory workers were out of a job without a need to create more products. Extending their territory would allow for the sale of more products and consistent jobs for the many factory workers of countries in Western Europe. By explaining and proving that imperialism was needed for a successful future and growth of the economy, Western European countries justified colonial expansion.
Western European countries accomplished imperialism by imposing harsh governments and guarding their land well from both internal and external dangers. Western European colonizers had many new weapons that the natives of the colonized land had never seen before, rendering them “helpless against the material gods of the white man, as embodied in the trinity of imperialism, capitalistic exploitation, and militarism…” (Doc 3). Western European rulers ran their colonies by intimidation. They had power over the natives, having weapons and more advanced technology to which the natives did not have access. This scared the natives into silence and made it more difficult for them to fight back and do little else other than what they were told. They were forced to perform harsh manual labor, and there was little they could do about it. Many were too intimidated to fight back, seeing the consequences of an uprising when someone was brave enough to protest. Another strategy the colonizers used to keep control of their land was “to guard against invasion from without, and repress disorder within” (Doc 6). By ensuring that the natives of the land were following the laws put in place and fiercely guarding their borders to avoid invasion, the colonizers kept control of their colonies. Keeping order within and not allowing the disorder to enter from the outside, they managed to run their colonies smoothly. By intimidating the natives of their colonies and guarding their country against internal and external conflict, Western European countries accomplished imperialism.
Western Europe was affected by imperialism in many ways both positive and negative, as they were able to grow their economies by trading and utilizing the new crops and natural resources they were able to harvest from their new land but faced resistance from those whose homes were colonized. As they expanded their territories, Western Europeans realized that certain crops grew better in different places and that there were new resources to be found in unknown lands. “A favorite explanation of why European imperialism turned abruptly has been the economic….Cotton grew better in Egypt…Rubber could be gotten from the Congo…” (Doc 9). Western Europeans benefited from expanding their territories because it allowed them to be more economically successful. They had access to more natural resources and were able to grow better crops. They were able to sell some of the crops they grew and found in these new lands, and use the natural resources to their advantage. This expanded their markets for trade with other countries and led to economic success in their own countries. Although they were affected positively by imperialism, Western Europeans were also met with struggles from the natives of the colonized areas. They were met with struggles that “…took up different forms… it often took the form of uprisings of slaves against slavers” (Doc 12). Although Western European countries fought with each other for land, the conflicts between the colonizers and the colonized proved to be much more dangerous. Natives of the colonized countries resented having their land taken over and losing control over their own lives. Although they did not have access to the machinery and weapons that their colonizers had, they found strength in numbers. They often revolted against their Western European colonizers, which led to battles with injuries and possible deaths. Western European colonizers did their best to avoid conflict and to silence the colonized, but the tensions between the colonizers and the colonized eventually led to violence, negatively impacting both sides. Western Europe was impacted by colonization in positive and negative ways, as it allowed them to grow their market through the growth of better crops and access to natural resources, but they were faced with uprisings from the natives of the colonized land.
Natives of the colonized areas in Africa were affected in many ways, such as by losing power over how their colonies were run, large amounts of their populations dying due to diseases brought by the Western European colonizers, and ethnic groups being separated due to boundary changes. When Western Europeans colonized Africa, they put in new governments that neglected to “give the natives a fair and reasonable share in the higher administration of their own country” (Doc 7). The voices of the natives of the colonized land were completely disregarded, and they lost all control over how their countries were run. A Western European style of government was put in place, leaving no trace of the old government systems that were previously used to govern African colonies. As colonizers came from Western Europe, they brought with them measles, smallpox, syphilis, and many other diseases to which people in Africa had never been exposed before (Doc 3). Because their immune systems had never been exposed to these diseases, and there was no proper medication provided for them to take, large numbers of the native population died. Before the Western European colonizers arrived in Africa, the boundaries that were in place were cultural boundaries, based on ethnic groups and where they lived (Doc 10). While colonizing Africa, Western European countries decided amongst themselves on new boundaries to put in place, which was “generally considered to have been arbitrary acts imposed by the European powers without reference to local conditions” (Doc 11). Western Europeans placed superimposed boundaries on Africa, which often separated ethnic groups into two different countries, or put multiple ethnic groups into one country (Rubenstein, 2017). This caused tension and conflict as ethnic groups with different values and beliefs were forced to live together and work cooperatively. Natives colonized by Western Europeans were affected by colonization, having the power to run their colonies taken from them, many of them dying as a result of new diseases from the colonizers, and being separated from their ethnic groups by superimposed boundaries.
Imperialism has been seen as vital to growth and progress by many people, especially Western Europeans in the 19th and 20th centuries as they imperialized colonies and expanded their territories. Western Europeans justified imperialism by insisting that the future and wealth of their countries were dependent on expanding their territories and that more land was needed for more outlets for exports. Imperialism was accomplished by Western Europeans by guarding their land against conflict, both internal and external, and governing their colonies harshly, with fear and intimidation. Western Europe was affected by imperialism in ways both positive and negative, as they had success with their crops and had more access to natural resources, but was faced with uprisings and conflict from the natives of the colonized land. The natives of colonized areas in Africa were affected by the new weapons and new diseases brought by Western European colonizers, many of them dying, being separated from their ethnic groups by superimposed boundaries, and losing all power over the future of their colonies. Because imperialism was justified and accomplished by Western European countries, it had effects on both Western Europeans and the natives of the imperialized colonies.
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