Imperialism Essay

997 words - 4 pages

Imperialism

     Whether for economic, nationalist, or humanitarian reasons, more powerful nations have
often interfered with the affairs of weaker nations. These more powerful nations, including the
United States, Britain, and several European countries, have in the past exploited less fortunate ones
for resources, capital, and knowledge. Yet in return countries located in South America, Africa, and
Southeast Asia have gained the technology and capital that, over a period of time and development,
improves their quality of life.

     One point of view could be that imperialism results in oppression and abuse. While this is
sometimes a temporary side effect of larger nations adopting protectorates, the long term effects
often cause the weaker nation to grow stronger. Even when a country feels they must rebel against
their suppressor, they gain a sense of nationalism and independence, resulting in a more distinct
culture than before. Why then, should a country have to withdraw from such interference?

     Another argument could be that only when needed, should a country be involved with
another’s affairs. Yet with this point of view most would agree that there would be too much
diversity in opinion when deciding exactly when help is needed. Also, countries such as Japan
would never have developed, whose primary success was to take the ideas of other nations and
better them.

     Stronger countries must interfere in the affairs of weaker nations for the gain of both nations.
A more powerful nation can better its own economy by sharing the resources of other nations and
weaker nations are able to obtain an improved standard of living by learning new technologies that
are more advanced than their own. Third world countries can receive food from stronger nations
and heathen nations can learn to be civilized from missionaries. Imperialism also follows the laws
of social Darwinism, where the “fitter” and more advanced countries must prosper.

     An excellent example of how imperialism can benefit a weaker nation as well as a stronger,
more dominant one is the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854. This treaty, forced upon the Japanese by
the Americans, opened up two Japanese ports to foreign trade as well as meeting other demands of
the Americans. Japan’s point of view was that by surrendering to the more powerful Americans
they could avoid a war that could not be won, and be able to learn new concepts and technologies
from the United States that would better their own nation. While Japan was at peace with the
United States, a time called the Meiji Period caused newly learned ideas to change the Japanese
government, resulting in the more industrialized and prosperous country we see today.

     In the mid-1800s, interference by both Britain and France in Africa opened up great
opportunities for all nations. Ali borrowed money from many European nations in order to better
Egyptian society. With this money he created...

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