Imperialism essay prompts


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I think there are many resonances that we find in the way that we live now that are attributable to the imperial experience. This seems to be a rudimentary question but we can lose sight of it. That gives a cut and dried impression of what the empire was, but what about the informal empire?

In many ways, for instance, Argentina was substantially run by the British during the 19th century but it was not coloured red because it was not a formal part of empire. Similarly, there are ways in which the US remained economically and culturally dependent on the empire for much of the 19th century. The British often took the attitude that if they could run a place without having to go to the trouble of ruling it and administering it and sending in the troops, then why did they need a formal empire connection? In the late 19th century in New Zealand there was almost complete democracy for white people — much greater democracy than in Britain itself — but in large parts of Africa democracy was a distant dream.

The quality of authority was always highly variegated. Another point is that people often have preconceptions about where the empire was and often forget, for example, the European outposts of empire.

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Naval bases such as Menorca, Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta allowed the Royal Navy to control the Mediterranean for a very long time, which was crucial in all sorts of respects. Partly, I suspect, because of current interests in racial politics, there can often be an unexamined belief that somehow the empire was about white Britons governing non-white people outside of Europe.

That was undoubtedly one aspect of the empire but of course there were lots of others as well. Establishing what the empire was at different times, and exactly what varieties of empire existed, is crucial because choosing which version of the British empire to focus upon tends to influence the stories that historians write about it. There can be a temptation to select only those parts of the empire that support a desired thesis.

Hence the importance of an eclectic and nuanced vision. Migrants moved out of Britain to the empire and, instead of posing as Britons, they often remained affiliated to their original ethnic connections within the UK. They maintained their differences and this became significant later on because, when nationalist movements started to develop — particularly in Ireland — their worldwide reach came to be important.

Each of the ethnicities of the UK contributed different things to the British empire. Obviously the demographic majority was English and generally it was English administrative systems and English common law that was reproduced around the empire.

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Public schools also followed the English model. However, while the Anglican church thought it ought to be top dog, it was not allowed to be. There was too much resistance and too many heterogeneous Christian denominational positions within the empire, so the Anglican model never became established.

An obvious Irish contribution was Roman Catholicism and if you look at the population of Catholic priests and nuns around the empire they were nearly always Irish. The Irish also had a great influence in education; they contributed lots of doctors and were disproportionately powerful within the British army. A number of the significant generals within the empire were Anglo-Irish figures. The Scottish Enlightenment became important in the empire; for example, many of the universities were founded by Scots on the Scottish model.

In addition, Scotland was an overproducer of graduates so you had very many Scottish doctors, engineers, foresters, botanists and teachers. Welsh nonconformity was very active in missionary activity, turning up in India and various other places. The Welsh language sometimes appeared as well. The Welsh were influential through their coal, which fuelled the empire, and their mining. Whenever you had mines established around the empire, it was often Welsh or Cornish who inhabited them. I think that you can identify what I call the four nations theory of empire, with strands that come from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.


They never fully amalgamated into something called Britishness. So when I look at the so-called British empire, what I begin to see are bits of a Scottish empire, bits of an Irish empire, a considerable English empire and also parts of a Welsh empire. This was a commercial empire and merchants were integral to it.

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So the trading companies that went on to become the plantation colonies were financed by merchants. It was they who took the early risks and without them the empire might never have happened. The merchants formed a symbiotic relationship with the state, which was very positive.

Britain provided assistance from the Royal Navy, in the form of convoys, negotiated favourable treaties following war and offered light taxes on customs and excise, while the merchants took the risks. They colonised on behalf of the state. Some merchants were involved in the slave trade, which was integral to the growing of sugar and tobacco in the colonies. It seems awful to us now but at the time they were only doing what the state had been encouraging them to do for years. That is why was such a watershed for the British empire, because it changed that old symbiotic relationship between the state and the merchants.

It used to be the prevailing view that the American revolution was a dividing line between the so-called first and second British empires. The first empire was characterised as being an empire of settlement, oriented around the Atlantic, and an empire that was in certain respects an extension of Britain. The second empire was characterised as being largely oriented towards Asia and involving direct rule over manifestly non-British people. My view is that although things changed after the American revolution there were some important continuities. For example, the British empire was still an Atlantic empire after the War of Independence, with lots of colonisation in Canada.

The American revolution was undoubtedly a big defeat and yet I would say that it had a positive effect on the British empire. Losing the 13 colonies made British imperial governors and politicians take a different look at the empire that remained and think about new ways of governing it in the future. Britain clarified its relationship with the rest of the empire. The countries of France, Britain, and Germany had especially large claims to the African continent during this time. The motives of imperialism for these countries greatly define Europe at this time.

Insatiable desires for economic markets, power and political struggles, the motivating belief in Social Darwinism, and the European idea of superiority were the driving.

European Imperialism heavily impacted the African continent through culturally, economic, and political ideas. The European powers divided up the continent of Africa among themselves, without any consent from the people. The idea of exploring and conquering new land meant more to these leaders because of the motivation. Mortimer Chambers et al define imperialism as a European state 's intervention in and continuing domination over a non-European territory.

During the 'Scramble for Africa ' in the late nineteenth century, the most powerful European nations desired to conquer, dominate and exploit African colonies with the hope of building an empire. According to Derrick Murphy, in only ten percent of Africa was occupied by European states. Twenty years later only ten percent remained unoccupied.

There were. Imperialism has many positive and negative effects. The Age of Imperialism is considered - During this time Europe became a major world leader. European countries set up colonies all over Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and encouraged their citizens to populate them. Imperialism By the late 19th and early 20th century, Europe was expanding its borders. In addition, it had reliable soil which would enable Europe to produce cash crops. European nations began to pour into Africa, called the Scramble for Africa.

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Soon, Europe took control of Africa, taking raw materials and destroyed African. They also have the. The abundance of resources, especially salt, gold, and slaves in Africa, especially after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, was too much for Europe to ignore. Most European countries, Italy being a main component, used the Mediterranean to cross to Africa and did business in North African ports. Portugal, realizing the possibilities of Africa as a whole, began to advance its seafaring abilities.

During the fifteenth. Africans little harm, but before long, the Europeans started to take complete control of wherever they went. The Europeans used their advanced knowledge and technology to easily maneuver through the vast African landscape and used advanced weapons to take control of the African people and their land.

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The countries that claimed the most land and had the most significant effect on Africa were France, England, Belgium, and Germany. There were many reasons for the European countries to be competing against each. European imperialism during , began as a plan to gain more riches for the European nations. The Europeans did this for three main reasons, which were for God, Gold, and Glory.

The Europeans domination over Latin America, Africa and Asia were made out to be good for the native people of these lands. However, the Europeans were not there to help these geographic areas. They were there to spread their influence and gain riches for themselves and the European nations. The successes and failures. You may, if you wish, focus on one of the major European powers.