East Asian Reactions to Imperialism.html - Why was European Imperialism Increasingly Difficult to Resist What changed in the eighteenth century to make

East Asian Reactions to Imperialism.html - Why was European...

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Why was European Imperialism Increasingly Difficult to Resist? What changed in the eighteenth century to make direct control of Asian territory both possible and attractive to European states? It was once common in academic circles to see imperialism as inextricably tied to the growth of capitalism and industry.In expounding upon the Communist doctrines of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin called imperialism "the highest stage of capitalism." According to Lenin, The necessity of exporting capital also gives an impetus to the conquest of colonies, for in the colonial market it is easier to eliminate competition, to make sure of orders, to strengthen the necessary "connections," etc. by monopolistic methods (and sometimes it is the only way) (Lenin 1966, 293). For Lenin, industrialization created an insatiable need for raw materials and markets that European leaders virtually had to meet through territorial acquisition. Now, scholars are reevaluating this assumption. Kenneth Pomeranz, for example, implies that colonization led to the growth of industry, rather than the other way around. Pomeranz claims that the accidental discovery of the New World in the Americas caused western European states to invest in capital-intensive industrial technologies. To supply, with existing workers, the demand for manufactured goods in the colonies—especially the demand for clothing for slaves—the English needed to invest in labor-saving devices. China and other Asian countries, not experiencing similar economic circumstances, continued with their labor-intensive technologies of production (Pomeranz 2000, 20). One factor encouraging imperialist tendencies in Europe was the increasing strength of nation-states who exported their rivalries to the Americas and to Asia. For instance, the English participated in the coup to install Mir Jafar partly because the existing nawab of Bengal was on friendly terms with the French. Nationalism legitimated imperial expansion on the grounds of preventing a rival country from gaining the advantage. As competition among European states intensified, the cost of not exerting control over strategic territories was viewed as higher than the cost of exerting such control. Opium War in China and the Treaty Port System Industrialization, the invention of the steam engine, and the development of gun technology had the effect of lowering the cost of conquest for Europeans. In this section, we will see how the emperor of China was in a position to rebuff the English in their requests for increased access to Chinese markets in the 1790s. Fifty years later, however, the evolution of steamship technology enabled the British Navy to control key Chinese rivers and to dictate humiliating terms to settle the first Opium War (1839–1842). The Qing dynasty, which came to power in 1644, considered China to be the Middle Kingdom, and expected other nations to be subservient and to pay tribute if they wished to enjoy the emperor's favor.
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