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The Absence Of Morality In King Leopold's Ghost And In The Congo Today

1301 words - 5 pages

The Congo, in Africa, is a territory that has been exploited since it was first discovered by the Europeans. The exploitation began with the successful trek into Africa's interior by the explorer, Henry Morton Stanley in 1871, in which he found David Livingstone, a missionary who had become lost in the continent's interior. Out of this journey, came Stanley's first book, How I Found Livingston, which earned him a large amount of money in royalties. Stanley also wrote other books about his adventures in the Congo after the one in which he found Livingstone. This is how the exploitation began. It would continue when King Leopold of Belgium would hire Stanley to travel along the Congo and discover the territory in the name of Belgium and develop the territory into a colony which was his dream ever since he had heard of Stanley's expedition.King Leopold was a leader who was very intelligent politically and he used his political intelligence to take the Congo as a colony to Belgium without any other European nations objecting. He presented his taking of the Congo in such a way that noone who believed what he was saying would argue. He deceived European nations by hiring Stanley, not for conquest, but for exploration, he explained this when he said, "I'm sure if I quite openly charged Stanley with the task of taking possession in my name of some part of Africa., the English will stop me. If I ask their advice they'll stop me just the same. So I think I'll just give Stanley some job of exploration which would offend no one, and will give us the bases and headquarters which we can take over later (58)." Here we see the careful planning that Leopold took in his attempts to build himself a colony in the Congo.King Leopold exploited the exploration of the Congo in order to take over the territory as a colony for Belgium. He used Henry Morton Stanley's expeditions and his American ambassador Henry Shelton Sanford to convince the American government to support his project in the Congo. He got the support of the United States by making his intentions look more noble than they actually were. He made it seem that his intentions were to help the African people and to create an association that would make a better life for the people of the territory of the Congo. The United States government believed Leopold's ploy and responded by supporting his actions in the Congo. Secretary of State at the time, Frelinghuysen said, "The Government of the United States announces its sympathy with and approval of the humane and benevolent purposes of the International Association of the Congo (81)." The United States government was under the impression that Leopold's plans for the Congo included creating a free nation for the people of the Congo and helping to make their lives better.While Leopold convinced the other nations that he was doing humane things in the Congo, his employee, Henry Morton Stanley, was doing things that would not be considered so. He and the other...

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