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The Imperial Age 1880-1914

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  1. The Imperial Age 1880-1914

  2. IMPERIALISM • A practice by which powerful nations or peoples seek to extend and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples • Colonialism usually implies formal political control, involving territorial annexation and loss of sovereignty • Imperialism refers, more broadly, to control or influence that is exercised either formally or informally, directly or indirectly, politically or economically

  3. IMPERIALISM • Early modern European imperialism generally took the form of overseas colonial expansion • Rather than one state attempting to unify the world, in this period many competing states established political control over territories in South and Southeast Asia and in the New World • Imperial systems were organized according to the doctrine of mercantilism: • Each imperial state attempted to control the trade of its colonies, in order to monopolize the benefits of that trade.

  4. IMPERIALISM • In the mid-19th century imperialism of free trade was the main focus • European, especially British, power and influence were extended informally, mainly through diplomatic and economic means, rather than formally, through direct colonial rule • The imperialism of free trade, however, was short-lived: • By the end of the 19th century, European powers were once again practicing imperialism in the form of overseas territorial annexation, expanding into Africa, Asia, and the Pacific

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  6. IMPERIALISMThe Economic Motive • Proponents of this view hold that states are motivated to dominate others by the need to expand their economies, to acquire raw materials and additional sources of labor, or to find outlets for surplus capital and markets for surplus goods • The most prominent economic theories, linking imperialism with capitalism, are derived from those of Karl Marx • Lenin, for example, explained the European expansion of the late 19th century as the inevitable outcome of the need for the European capitalist economies to export their surplus capital

  7. IMPERIALISMPolitical Motives • Nation-states are motivated to expand primarily by the desire for power, prestige, security, and diplomatic advantages vis-à-vis other states • In this view, late 19th-century French imperialism was intended to restore France's international prestige after its humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War

  8. IMPERIALISMIdeological Motives • Political, cultural, or religious beliefs force states into imperialism as a "missionary activity" • Britain's colonial empire was motivated at least in part by the idea that it was the "white man's burden" to civilize "backward" peoples • Germany's expansion under Hitler was based in large measure on a belief in the inherent superiority of German national culture • The desire of the U.S. to "protect the free world" and of the former Soviet Union to "liberate" the peoples of Eastern Europe and the Third World are also examples of imperialism driven by moral and ideological concerns.

  9. IMPERIALISMEffects of Imperialism • The truth has been difficult to ascertain for at least two reasons: • (1) No consensus has been reached on the meaning of exploitation • (2) it is frequently difficult to disentangle the domestic causes of poverty from those that are possibly international • Impact of imperialism is uneven: • Some poor nations have enjoyed greater economic benefits from contact with the rich than have others (i.e.. India, Brazil, and other developing nations have even begun to compete economically with their former colonial powers