Chapter 32 Web Questions

1) Presently, imperial societies and empires are thought not be as present as they were during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One country that might be considered an empire, as Professor O’Malley expressed, is the United States. What other countries do you consider to have imperialistic motives? What are the characteristics that these countries have that make them imperialistic?

2) Imperialism seems always bring along with it a negative connotation. Imperialism often creates wars which lead to many deaths, while imperial powers tend to exploit the land, people, and resources while colonizing. Imperialism seems to end up doing a lot of harm. Can you think of any benefits that imperialism creates for either or both the colonizing or colonized country? What are some countries that have experienced these benefits?

3) Darwinism is a biological theory that explains evolution through the idea of “the survival of the fittest,” which, to put it simply, is to say species with superior traits outlast those with inferior traits. How did people use such this theory to justify European imperialism? Does such thinking still persist today?

4) Jules Ferry Reading: Jules Ferry felt in order for France to be a high-ranking global power, it must colonize certain places. He offered a few reasons why France should engage in colonial expansion. What are his justifications given for colonial expansion? Do you condone them? Why or why not?


9 Comments on “Chapter 32 Web Questions”

  1. daniel chitrik says:

    3) Social Darwinism was created by Herbert Spencer. Although Spencer preceded Darwin, he nevertheless used his ideas. He claimed that people who were wealthier and had more power, in his “might makes right view,” were more likely to adapt. Hence He believed that the strong triumphed over the weak and exploited them to survive. Spencer went so far as to believe that it was completely moral to exploit the weak to promote the survival of the stronger specimen. Social Darwinism justified colonialism/imperialism by giving the Europeans the argument that the strongest military should win. It considered natives to be inferior and unfit, while granting the Europeans a higher class in society. Imperialists considered the subjugation of the natives inevitable in the process of social evolution.

    Although we don’t have as much imperialism of other lands, we nonetheless have imperialism of world trades. Economic imperialism.

  2. Jemima Georges says:

    3) Europeans used social Darwinism to justify imperialism by believing that because they were more “civilized” than the natives they were encroaching upon they were more superior. They also held the belief that their technology advanced far beyond that of the people they colonized, thus they were more intelligent. These ideas even spread to physical traits where differences between white and black anatomical structures accounted for “white superiority” and “black inferiority”. Hence, Europeans came to the conclusion that because of their “higher human nature” they were “improving” these societies, inserting their religious and cultural beliefs into they systems of those they were exploiting while diluting their (foreign peoples’) traditions and cultures. Because they possessed such “exceptional” qualities, they were mentally and physically “more fit”.

    In today’s society monopolies run rampant running small businesses out of business. While the bigger industries take business away from the smaller industries, the smaller industries, by the skin of their teeth, are trying to keep themselves alive by incorporating new strategies into their market at the same time trying to compete with the ever evolving giants. So, “survival of the fittest” is something that still exists in society. It’s not always true, but the general idea is there.

  3. Gulnaz Aglyamova says:

    Besides U.S., there are other countries, which may be considered as imperialist, such as Great Britain, France, Dutch, Russian and Japan. The main characteristic of these countries that because of their industrial development and military technology, they invade other countries and impose their own rules on new territories. They exploit indigenous population, use land’s natural resources, established unfair trading and cover all their action with idea that it is “white man’s burden” to civilize such places as Asia and Africa, who have different culture, religions and values in life. They often use direct control in their colonies, such as England in India, but sometimes there was an indirect control over weaker countries.

  4. Lindsay Poulakos says:

    4) Jules Ferry reasoned that French colonial expansion was imperative because the French needed to 1) keep up with the rapid industrialization of the rest of Europe, 2) fulfill their duties as a ‘superior race’ to ‘civilize’ native peoples, and 3) establish ports along the seas to supply their naval ship. The first and third argument he proposes are understandable, since the progressive rates of countries was a sort of competition or struggle of power between European nations. As he mentions in his speech, larger countries, such as Germany and the US were well on their way towards marking their territory on the world trade market and France would indefinitely be overshadowed and lose their hold in South American trade. It is also logical that in order to have a prominent naval force, France needed global ports to refuel their ships. Still, his second reason is not one that I agree with since it is merely resonates as an unjustifiable excuse Ferry used to support his speech. As most of us have come to realize today, no race is superior or inferior to another. Ferry should not have used this ‘duty’ excuse to hide the true one-sided exchange of colonization.

  5. Sheri Greenbaum says:

    3)“Survival of the fittest” explores the idea that the strong will outlive the weaker simply because they are stronger. European countries in the 1880s believed that they were the strongest countries in the world; white classy men felt they were the most powerful and they had the authority to exert control over those who were weaker than them. Being the stronger people, the more powerful species with superior traits gave Europeans all the justification they needed to exert imperial authority all around the world. Though the age imperialism is over, there are some people in the modern world who do follow these ideas of Darwinism. There are some people in the world who do feel like they are better than other people; racism and sexism are examples of this.

  6. Aleksandr Ashurov says:

    2) As for the colony of an imperialist force there’s little to no benefit when compared to the force in charge. There’s also no argument as to the fact that there was much more suffering for the colony than there were benefits. The main benefit for any British colony, for instance, was education and training acquired. Indians had more opportunities and a means of rising up from their social and financial standing. Education helped advance the colony forward and training gave them a way of achieving employment. Some of these jobs included managerial positions for British owned companies. There was also an access to technology and protection from other imperialist powers. In my opinion the amount of turmoil and injustices caused to the indigenous people are far greater than any “reward” they gained from being suckered into this deal. Of course the clear winner of this “bargain” was still Britain because of all the resources they were able to get their hands on. Either way, not like the colonies had a chance.

  7. Natalia Roldan says:

    Although many won’t admit it, imperialism has had both negative and positive affects on mankind as a whole. People tend to focus on the negative, but there have been many beneficial aspects to imperialism. Imperialism is an end result, but the many variables that make it happen can be perceived as positive. For one, the world was mapped out and charted in a way that it had never been before. In order for imperialism to be made possible, there was an extreme need for the development of new technology as far as transportation, medicine, language and weaponry. Imperialism also introduced people from different parts of the world to each other. Although this was terrible in the beginning, it paved the way for a beautiful new world in which knowledge was shared by all types of people. Foods and merchandise were also shared. The world we live in today is a product of imperialism and although it could have been a bit less horrific, humanity has learned a lot about life, our world and each other because of it.

  8. Tabia Chu says:


    I don’t think it is unjustified that imperialism often has a negative connotation. The nature of this behavior is to take control over other lands and enforce their own policies upon them. This action may benefit those who are weaker but not countries who have already established their own way of living. These cultural developments within the country are important to them. Indians take value in religion, often causing many conflicts among themselves because of it. When the Mongols took over China and ignored their cultures and Confucian beliefs, their rule did not benefit China at all. Later, with the Boxer Rebellion, the idea of expelling the foreign devil suggests these ideas from other countries were not welcome.

    The concept of cultural mixing comes from outsiders invading their country and procreating with the natives. Terms were given to these mixed children, placing them in a certain social standing because of it.

    In extreme cases, a country may only welcome imperialists if the benefits outweigh the negatives, however most countries are just taken by force.

  9. Dinghua Zeng says:

    This topic makes me think of my neighbor: Hong Kong. Hong Kong was occupied by British after Opium War, in 1841; it was ceded by British under Treaty of Nanjing. In general, Hong Kong is doing much better than mainland. Hong Kong is an autonomy society. Basically, their laws are followed British, which is had developed compared to Chinese law so far. Under the law of Hong Kong, the society is more tolerance, which people own the freedom of speech, civil liberties. Hong Kong has powerful capitalist economy, which it well known in the world by its low taxation and free trade policy under British’s control. British created a high civil liberties and strong economy society. The people live in Hong Kong are influence by British culture as well. Hong Kong also famous for its mixture culture, which it maintains the mixture of western and traditional east style. Their food, language, education are highly connect with western.

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