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Imperialism of the Late-Nineteenth Century

November 12, 2012

“From the Cape to Cairo,” Puck, 1902. Library of Congress

Below please find a set of web questions on late-nineteenth century imperialism written by your classmate, Teddy Chattah. Remember to respond to at least one of these with an answer of a paragraph or more.

  • What where some of the reasons that the countries of Europe jumped to colonize other countries? What did the people of “imperialized” countries think about being subjugated to European rule? 
  • What were some of the positive and negative aspects of imperialism? Who ultimately benefited from imperialism? Do you think colonization of other countries at this time was morally right?
8 Comments leave one →
  1. Syed permalink
    November 23, 2012 9:42 pm

    There were a lot of different reasons that contributed to colonization. Major reasons that were contributed are economical, political and religious reasons. Industrialization created big demand for raw goods and colonized country was good source for those raw goods. Spreading Christianity was also a big motive of colonization, mother country wanted to bring civilization to the colonized country. Political and military was also another major reason that motivated colonization to weaken competition. Colonized people were never happy to be colonized; they were suffering by the colonization. Sometimes they would try to revolt but were not very successful because of military reasons.
    Imperialism is never a good thing; it was good for the imperials by the local people suffered in all aspects. Imperialism is morally wrong because the imperials took advantage of local people without their will. They took local people natural resources and robed them from their fair share. Imperials also imposed different sets of laws that only benefited the imperials. Local people were very poorly treated.
    Positive effect of imperialism is Modernization. Roads, bridges, canals, railroads and school building were build by imperialist in the colonized countries are some of the positive effect of imperialism. Some of those bridges and schools are still exist and used in formally colonized countries. Colonies were used as cheap labor, taking advantage of colonies, not giving them any freedom and forceful converting to Christianity are some of the negative reasons of imperialism.
    Here is link to a British build school in Sylhet, Bangladesh.

  2. Fabiola Ramos permalink
    December 1, 2012 4:55 pm

    There is no specific answer for why countries colonized other countries. Different factors come into play. For the most part, the countries being colonized have some sort of natural resource that will benefit the countries of Europe. European countries were just seeking power, and economic wealth. For this reason, if they knew a land would benefit them by growing crops or anything that will benefit their economic position, they will seek to colonize that land. This was good for the European countries because they were making money and becoming more powerful. But this was unfortunate for the people who were being colonized. These people had no say in what was going on. For the most part it was just a set of random people walking into their land and taking over. They weren’t happy with the conditions. They went from working to feed themselves to know having to work for the Europeans. At times the labor was done for free, in other words, the Europeans would use these natives as slaves and make them work extremely long hours and under horrifying conditions. I absolutely don’t think imperialism was morally right. There is no reason why anyone should invade someones country and treat them like slaves when they have a right to be there and benefit form their crops. I think during this time people were just desperate and becoming greedy and this is why they had no pity on the people who they were treating as slave.

  3. shahid khan permalink
    December 5, 2012 4:52 am

    Some positive aspects of imperialism were how the mother country helps improve and kind of take care of the small colonies. The large nations built schools, hospitals, roads, railroads, bridges and many public services. Usually the small colonies are not civilized, so the mother country helps civilize their way of living. They become more like the western culture. They learn how to use the telegraph, improve Medicare, seed new crops, tools and many more. The negatives aspects of imperialism is that he mother country brings a lot of changes to the small colonies to take advantage of the natural resources and sometimes treat them like slaves. Even though the mother country civilizes the small colonies, they do it so they can have the power to do whatever they want to the government, people and resources. They people have no choice but to obey them and give away their freedom. And of course the mother country benefits a lot from imperialism because they are giving some to the colonies but in return they get so much more. They basically take away their land, freedom, and recourses. I think that colonization of other countries was kind of right at that time because nationalism didn’t exist so people were not so crazy about who they represent or who they were. There were still large empires in the world.
    – Shahid Khan

  4. Jotty permalink
    December 16, 2012 5:06 pm

    There were many reasons led European countries to colonize other countries. We can point out the economic interest first. With the era of industrialization, many raw materiel came into demand in European societies and they didn’t have these resources. Therefore,they jumped over other countries to get what they needed for their own states. Also for political and military reasons,European countries coveted advantages from some countries that had good sites on the world’s sea lanes and presented supply station for commercial and naval ships. Moreover, European countries wanted to introduce Christianity to colonized countries and pretended that these people were barbarism and they had the right to bring them into civilization. However colonized people thought that they were being used for the interest of European countries and they were often treated as slave. Being occupied by imperialism rules was for their misfortune. The only positive aspect that imperialism brought to other countries is the industrialization: the construction of school, railroads, hospitals. The introduction of new weapon, telegram, new ideologies. Beside, I think colonized other countries was morally wrong because man has been created to be free. European countries take away that freedom and did whatever they wanted to do since it is for their interest. After all, they were the lastly beneficiary of imperialism.

  5. Sundes Ambreen permalink
    December 16, 2012 5:24 pm

    What were some of the positive and negative aspects of imperialism? Who ultimately benefited from imperialism? Do you think colonization of other countries at this time was morally right?


    1- For the imperialists, their nation is expanding and that brings about great economic advantages for the mother country. Their resources increase.
    2- There is an exchange of different kinds of food/spices, ideas and values, and culture.
    3- The mother country is respected or feared around the world.


    1- Destroying the invaded country’s land, lives, culture, and livestock.
    2- Caused tension and animosity between nations.
    3- Leads to an assimiliation of the mother country’s culture.
    4- Leads to wars and tons of lives being lost.

    The imperialists ultimately benefitted of course, the ball’s in their court, so thet get to do whatever they wish with the invaded land. I dont think that colonizing other lands is right because most of the times, it leads to war and bloodshed. It makes the mother country think they are superior and have the power to do whatever they want. And that’s not right. The conquered peoples are humans as well.

  6. Richard Cabral permalink
    December 18, 2012 5:17 am

    Well there were many reasons that made a country colonize another, such as political, economical, and at times religious reasons. Usually each of these could go hand in hand to help further the colonization such as missionaries coming over to a country to spread a religion would learn the natives language, and as such those missionaries could easily become indeterminataries between the two nations. Or such as a country wishing to get goods cheaper that they dominate the politics of the country to help get them a better standing at the prices in the country’s market. Generally most if not all colonized civilizations despised being a colony especially if the ruling country was cruel or heavily taxed them. Though generally most peoples wished to be left alone and to their own devices.

    One of the positive aspects that could be looked at was the growth a society could obtain from learning from the ruling nation. Such as technology, medicine and art, these things could help improve or enrich a country if used correctly. Though at times these blending could be dangerous as it could end up destroying a civilizations previous way of life. Generally Imperialism in that time period was in my opinion the British, and i believe that morally it was wrong because most if not all colonies were exploited for their resources and peoples.

  7. Joseph DeAngelo permalink
    December 18, 2012 11:15 am

    European countries moved towards imperialism for a number of reasons: expansion of power, trade ports, religious missionaries, natural resources, and more. With vulnerable nations without any governmental power or united force, the european powers found it acceptable to move into to other lands and take it as their own (and basically did so easily due to the power of their armies and weakness of the other countries’). With the addition of new land to an empire, this entailed a few things: firstly, take African imperialism for example, the european now had middle-stations from trade between Asia and Europe, which historically shown was extremely effective and efficient, providing trade ports at the Europeans use. Moreover, with the scriptural teachings of the spread of Christianity, the Europeans found it necessary and vital for them to spread and share and convert people to the word of the Lord. These missionaries spread like hot fire throughout the imperial nations and millions of people converted to Christianity. The imperialized peoples felt undeservedly subjected to the poor and immoral treatment of the European powers. From one day working for their own needs and families, they moved to working solely for the Europeans’ self-interest and did so under cruel circumstance. I believe, overall, imperialism is immoral because a) the European nations were using the imperialized countries as a mean, or a tool, through which they received the only benefit and b) they mistreated the innocent people and forced them into work they didn’t deserve. There were undeniable advantages to imperialism (e.g. industrialization, modernization, etc.) and the world wouldn’t be where it is without it; nonetheless, that does not mean it was right…

  8. Xing Hui Lu (Richard) permalink
    December 19, 2012 11:03 pm

    The term imperialism throughout the years has changed its view from different people’s perspective. There were many positive aspects along with many negative aspects, but some of the positive aspects may be for economic reasons such as raw materials. Other reasons may be political such as geopolitical ones. The countries may have harbors to offer or supply stations for ships, but imperialism also brought tensions between countries. For the Europeans especially the British, they believed it was a duty to humankind. They had thought that they were superior to the other peoples.

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