Question to be Answered in Report How has colonialism changed the role
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Question to be Answered in Report: How has colonialism changed the roles
of Europeans of the early 1900's or late 1800's?
One of the most famous slogans of the age of global colonization
was: "The sun never sets on the British Empire." As recently as 1940,
world maps showed large areas colored pink, representing regions dominated
by the British. Much of Africa was pink, along with India, Malaya, Hong
Kong, and other scattered territories in Asia and the Americas. The
existence of an empire on which the sun never set helped instill in the
individual British citizen tremendous pride, and the need to become
personally a devoted imperialist. For more than 100 years, the fact that
Britain was an empire had changed the British man’s life, and had
instilled in him the fact that he was superior to most other peoples
especially those of other colors and backgrounds. This was also the period
when it was felt that it was the "white man’s burden" to take care of all
those countries whose inhabitants were less worthy than the white
Anglo-Saxon. This way of thinking was called Social Darwinism. This was an
e when even though England, in some respects, tried to act "fatherly"
towards some of the countries it had seized, it still felt a strong amount
of racism towards the people of those countries. In 1849, General Wolsely
wrote from the Gold Coast, "The Africans are like monkeys. They are a
good-for-nothing race." In 1849 Thomas Carlyle pronounced Europeans wiser
than Africans and said inferior races must obey the superior. It was an
idea that by 1900 most English men and women held, one that fit the
paternalism of the governing classes and the prejudice of the lower
classes. The Empire had created a nation of imperialists.
The commercial spirit has always existed in human society. What
was peculiar to the nineteenth century was its "overbalance:" it became
the "paramount principle of action in the nation at large." Capitalism,
imperialism, and colonialism were the themes of the day. A generation of
university teachers, schoolmasters, clergymen, poets, journalists, and
fiction writers concentrated their minds and energies on popularizing the
cult of the new imperialism. The intellectual and social trends were many
and complex, ranging from Social Darwinist works like Benjamin Kidd’s "The
Control of the Topics" to Kipling’s poems and the racist songs of the
music halls. There was, of course, the persistent call by Christian
evangelicals to go forth and convert the pagans. Continuous, too, since
the eighteenth century, were humanitarians anxious to end slavery or
protect the aborigines. Even the nursery of the Victorian day was not
closed to imperialism. "An ABC for Baby Patriots" published in 189!
C is for Colonies
Rightly we boast,
That of all the great nations
Great Britain has the most.
In the middle classes, the passion for wealth was closely
connected with the desperate need for respectability. By 1880, a
generation had passed into manhood with an outlook which made them ideally
suited to govern the empire. In itself, wealth alone was hardly enough to
make a Victorian respectable. When everyone at the time was busy making
money and working to better themselves, someone with money who just laid
back and enjoyed the pleasures of life was not a winner. It was said that
to be a merchant prince was a far finer thing than to be a gentleman. This
means that to be a working merchant, making a living, and getting high in
the social ladder, was a more respectable thing to be than just a
gentleman. Soon, every single person, no matter what age, was trying to
advance in society. "Now that a man may make money, and rise in the world,
and associate himself, unreproached, with people once far above him … it
becomes a veritable shame to him to remain in the state he was b!
orn in, and everybody thinks it is his duty to try to be a ‘gentleman.’"
See, the whole train of thought for everyone of the time, especially men,
since the women were mostly housewives, was to live to better themselves
by gaining social status and respect from the higher powers.
Except for "God," the most popular word in the Victorian
vocabulary must have been "work." Capitalism was the main force behind
imperialism. Capitalism had created a wealthy and powerful elite of
investors, traders, and manufacturers, anxious to make profits. Capitalism
had also, by its unequal distribution of wealth, given so little
purchasing power to the workers that they could not buy all the goods
produced. This underconsumption forced the elite to search for markets
abroad and so to persuade their government to
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Marxian economics, Cultural geography, Social philosophy, Imperialism, Invasions, Colonialism, Racism, Middle class, Capitalism, Victorian era, Empire, Historiography of the British Empire
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