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New Imperialism - Alexis Denigh Knappenberger Western Civ...

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Alexis Denigh Knappenberger Western Civ. 1021 Dr. Alison Lewin March 25, 2008 New Industrialism: Profit and Devastation By the mid 1800s, imperialism was an established Western practice with its roots in pre-industrialized Europe. The initial voyages were those of discovery and exploration; America was the New World, China a mysterious land of strange culture and technological innovation, and coastal Africa the heart of ancient civilization. Within the next centuries, however, Europe created a unique identity for itself. Prolific technological and philosophical advances attributed to a European re- think of the definition of progress : political, social and economic. Capitalism, nationalism, romanticism, and liberalism, while perhaps vastly different in their goals and methods, are all linked through their loyalty to the concept of progress. These ideologies fueled the quest for new lands, new resources – in effect, new imperialism. In addition to motive, new imperialism differs from its elder counterpart in both geographic concentration and rapidity. African lands, snatched up and divided among European powers without regard to inhabiting tribes, 1 became the product of the Scramble Effect; or rapid conquest of land by Europeans in competition with other Europeans. 2 Asia was valued for its large population, and thus, large market. Australia, initially a British penal colony, was home to a significant Aborigine population and was viewed as a missionary opportunity. Intricate forces awakened this new desire to colonize. Europe was in flux, and new ideologies and practices produced a yearning for new land. Chief among these forces is liberalism, which plays a paradoxical and somewhat self-contradictory role in new imperialism. A quintessential liberalist value is that of individual freedom and “[i]t was difficult, for example, to reconcile…[this] with the widespread use of forced labor it colonial Africa.” 3 However, liberalism derives its economic perspectives from laissez faire capitalism, which in turn functions on concepts of supply and demand, necessitating 1 Maps of Africa, WWW , pp. 235-237 2 Levack, Muir, Veldman, Mass. The West: Encounters and Transformations p. 767 3 Ibid p. 761
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consumerism in a large market. Africa and Asia promised not only “lands of which agricultural and mineral resources [that] are not worked to the full…” 4 but also “lots of people, all of them potential consumers of European goods.”
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