Essay Preview: Imperialism
Report this essay
Imperialism is often excused as a way of liberating people from tyrannical rule or by introducing the policies of a “better” way of life. It is based on the ground of a variety of causes running the gamut of economic pressures, greed, security, power, prestige, religion, and many other effective measures that can be taken given the circumstances. Arguments about the roots and virtue of imperialism can be put into four basic groups. The first is whether or not imperialism is economically beneficial. The second relates to the social aspect of imperialism and the natural desire to rule others. The third is protection and security, building up military powers around the world in order to help the main country when trouble erupts. Finally, the last is morals and their religious aspects. Because imperialism has its basis on power, it is often considered morally reprehensible. The thirst for power drove the European nations into a frenzy to control the continent based solely on the false belief that they were superior, thereby inflicting numerous evils upon both the African land and its people.

Imperialism did benefit a small and favored group, but never the entire nation. For some people, capitalism and imperialism are the same and interpret imperialism as a late stage of capitalism when nations are forced to depend on monopolies in overproduction and surplus capital so that they can compete with other nations.

At enormous expense imperialism has created an unsafe increase of markets, and has jeopardized the entire affluence of a nation in stimulating the strong resentment of other nations.

During the nineteenth century, Great Britain had a huge empire, extending to many different regions of the globe. Before 1869, it only controlled a small amount of land in Africa. During the times before 1869, the British concentrated on imperialism in other, more profitable places around the world; places that would give them more markets for trade and more opportunity to increase their economy. Suddenly, the British were taking over land in places such as regions in Africa.

The main reason for Britains interest in Africa was for the survival of their empire. Britains economy has always depended heavily on trade, and creating more colonies was the way to expand their trade. Before the 1870s, Britain had little competition with various colonies. Their first act was against France in 1869. By completing the Suez Canal, a route was opened into Asia, linking the two most prominent continents. Britain had feared that they would be cut off and India would be taken from them. Keeping India was essential to Britains survival as an empire, without which they would be just another European nation. To solve this problem, Britain gained control of the Suez Canal, then eventually the entirety of Egypt.

Another country needed in order to protect India was South Africa. Its port at Cape Town was an essential stop for all people en route to India. When gold and diamonds were later discovered in other parts of South Africa, Britain fought and annexed all of South Africa. At this time, neither Germany nor Italy was unified and France was busy fighting with Prussia. The European powers really had no interest in external affairs for the time. 1871 changed everything. Germany and Italy were unified and France had just lost the Alsace-Lorraine to the Germans.

The French were the first to begin the annexation of Africa, mostly because they wanted to restore their lost sense of national pride. Because both Germany and France went for Africa, the English were suddenly faced with the fear of competition. An economic slump in Europe in the 1880s caused markets to become even scarcer than they were to begin with. In a futile attempt to right themselves as an empire, Britain began taking over land in Africa. After all, land in Africa was quite cheap. It was slightly afterwards that all the European powers realized what they had bought into, and had to face the fact that the whole ordeal was unprofitable, though they hated to admit to it.

Imperialism is also classified as a natural struggle for survival. Those endowed with “superior” qualities were “destined” to rule over others. This was a very complex form of social Darwinism. Ruling others is not survival of the fittest; in order to appear as the fittest, one does not need to trample all over the cultures of other people. No matter how “weak” others may seem, it is the people who feel the need to rule over other others that are truly weak. These greedy people are selfish and have a severe superiority composite. The European nations raced each other for every bit of land they could sweep up. The results were horrifying.

Britishs colonial acquirements from 1870 to 1900 amounted to 4.75million square miles, which contained 88million people. During the period of 1880-1900, France procured 3.5million square miles, with 37million inhabitants; Belgium assumed just below one million square miles, which contained 30million occupants; and the Germans took over 1million square miles, populated by over 16million people. Most of these regional additions took place in Africa.

France acquired a huge empire in North and West Africa consisting

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

European Nations And Great Britain. (April 17, 2021). Retrieved from