DBQ Essay Impacts Of New Imperialism
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Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-8. (The documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise.) Write your answer on the lined pages provided. This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that:
Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents. Uses all of the documents.
Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually. Takes into account the sources of the documents and analyzes the authors’ points of view. Identifies and explains the need for at least one additional type of document.
You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.
Question: After the defeat of Napoleon in Europe and the subsequent liberation movements in the Americas, Europeans began to look at Africa and Asia for future imperial conquests. This new imperial attitude was known as New Imperialism to distinguish it from the previous Age of Discovery. Analyze the impacts of New Imperialism (1800-1914) on the various regions of world.
(Background: Many white people felt that they were morally responsible to raise ignorant native peoples to a higher level of civilization. Few captured this notion better that the British poet Rudyard Kipling in his famous poem The White Man’s Burden. His appeal, directed to the United States, became one of the most famous sets of verses in the English-speaking world.)
Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden
Take up the White Man’s burden-
Send forth the best ye breed-
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild-
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man’s burden-
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.
Take up the White Man’s burden-
The savage wars of peace-
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your foal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to naught.
(Background: This British author points out some of the more harmful aspects of colonialism in the Belgian Congo.)
Edmund Morel, The Black Man’s Burden
It is [the Africans] who carry the “Black man’s burden.” They have not withered away before the white man’s occupation. Indeed … Africa has ultimately absorbed within itself every Caucasian and, for that matter, every Semitic invader, too. In hewing out for himself a fixed abode in Africa, the white man has massacred the African in heaps. The African has survived, and it is well for the white settlers that he has..
What the partial occupation of his soil by the white man has failed to do; what the mapping out of European political “spheres of influence” has failed to do; what imported measles, smallpox and syphilis have failed to do; whatever the overseas slave trade failed to do; the power of modern capitalistic exploitation, assisted by modern engines of destruction, may yet succeed in accomplishing.
For from the evils of the latter, scientifically applied and enforced, there is no escape for the African. Its destructive effects are not spasmodic; they are permanent. In its permanence resides their fatal consequence. It kills not the body merely, but the soul. It breaks the spirit. It attacks the African at every turn, from every point of vantage. It wrecks his polity, uproots him from the land, invades his family life, destroys his natural pursuits and occupations, claims his whole time, and enslaves him in his own home.
(Background: This ongoing debate centers upon the relative benefits of English and various Indian languages.)
Thomas Babington Macaulay, Minute on Education
We have a fund to be employed as government shall direct for the intellectual improvement of the people of this country. The simple question is, what is the most useful way of employing it?
All parties seem to be agreed on one point, that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary or scientific information, and are, moreover so poor and rude that, until they are enriched from some other quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them…
What, then shall the language [of education] by? One half of the Committee maintain that is should be the English. The other half strongly recommends the Arabic and Sanskrit. The whole question seems to me to be, which language is the best worth knowing?
I have no knowledge of either Sanskrit or Arabic—but I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanskrit works. I have conversed both here and at home with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. I am quite ready to take the Oriental learning at the valuation of the Orientalists themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia …
It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say, that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England. In every branch of physical or moral philosophy the relative position of the two nations is nearly the same.
(Background: Edward Douwes Dekker was a Dutch colonial official who observed in the East Indies for nearly twenty years. In 1860, he published a critique of the Dutch colonial system that had an impact in the Netherlands similar to that of Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the United States. In the following excerpt from his book Max Havelaar, or coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company, Douwes Dekker described the system as it was applied on the island of Java, in the Indonesian archipelago.)
Eduard Douwes Dekker, Max Havelaar
The Javanese is by nature a husbandman; the ground whereon he is born, which gives much for little labor, allures him to it, and, above all things, he devotes his whole heart and soul to the cultivating of his rice fields, in which he is very clever. He grows up in the midst of his sawahs [rice fields] …; when still very young, he accompanies his father to the field, where he helps him in his labor with plow and spade, in constructing dams and drains to irrigate his fields; he counts his years by harvest; he estimates time by the color of the blades in his field; he is at home amongst the companions who cut paddy with him; he chooses his wife amongst the girls of the dessah [village], who every evening tread the rice with joyous songs. The possession of a few buffaloes for plowing is the ideal of his dreams.
The cultivation of rice is in Java what the vintage is in the Rhine provinces and in the south of France. But there came foreigners from the West, who made themselves masters of the country. They wished to profit by the fertility of the soil, and ordered the native to devote a part of his time and labor to the cultivation of other things which should produce higher profits in the markets of Europe. To persuade the lower orders to do so, they had only to follow a very simple policy. The Javanese obey his chiefs; to win the chiefs, it was only necessary to give them a part of the gain-and success was complete.
To be convinced of the success of that policy we need only consider the immense quantity of Javanese products sold in Holland; and we shall also be convinced of its injustice, for, if anybody should ask if the husbandman himself gets a reward in proportion to that quantity, then I must five a negative answer. The Government compels him to cultivate certain products on is ground; it pushes him if he sells what he has produced to any purchaser but itself; and it fixes the price actually paid. The expenses of transport to Europe through a privileged trading company are high; the money paid to the chiefs for encouragement increases the prime cost; and because the entire trade must product profit, that profit cannot be got in any other way than by paying the Javanese just enough to keep him from starving, which would lessen the producing power of the nation.
(Background: Most Africans living outside the port cities had little idea of what to expect form the arrival of the white man and the new colonial authority. Thanks to these memoirs, recounted a half century later by an African woman from northern Nigeria, we are offered an intimate glimpse into the arrival of the British at the end of the nineteenth century. It is interesting to note that slavery among Africans was still a long-established tradition in the area. In a later passage, the woman remarks that her family lost income from the flight of its slaves, but the loss was offset by a reduction in taxes that African farmers had traditionally been compelled to pay to fill the pockets of local officials and chiefs.)
Baba, a Hausa woman of Nigeria
When I was a maiden the Europeans first arrived. Ever since we were quite small the malams [Muslim scholars] had been saying that the Europeans would come with a thing called a train, they would come with a thing called a motor-car… they would stop wars, they would repair the world, they would stop oppression and lawlessness, we should live at peace with them. We used to go and sit quietly and listen to the prophecies….
I remember when a European came to Karo on a horse, and some of his foot soldiers went into the town. Everyone came out to look at them… Everyone at Karo ran away—“There’s a European, there’s a European!”…
At that time Yusufu was the [Fulani] king of Kano. He did not like the Europeans, he did not wish them, he would not sign their treaty. Then he saw that perforce he would have to agree, so he did. The Habe wanted them to come, it was the Fulani who did not like it. When the Europeans came the Habe saw that if you worked for them they paid you for it, they didn’t say, like the Fulani, “Commoner, give me this! Commoner, bring me that!” Yes, the Habe wanted them…
The Europeans said that there were to be no more slaves; if someone said “Slave!” you could complain to the alkali [judge] who would punish the master who said it, the judge said “That is what the Europeans have decreed.”… When slavery was stopped, nothing much happened at our rinji [the farm where their slaves lived] except that some slaves whom we had bought in the market ran away. Our own father went to his farm and worked, he and his son took up their large hoes… They farmed guinea, corn and millet and groundnuts and everything; before this they had supervised the slaves’ work—now they did their own. When the midday food was ready, the women of the compound would give us children the food, one of us drew water, and off we went to the farm to take the men their food at the foot of a tree.
(Background: As British forces advanced northward from the Cape Colony toward the Zambezi River in the 1890s, they overran the Ndebele people, who occupied rich lands in the region near the site of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Angered by British brutality, Ndebele warriors revolted in 1896 to throw off their oppressors. Despite their great superiority in numbers, British units possessed the feared Maxim gun, which mowed down African attackers by the hundreds. Faced with defeat, the Ndebele king, Lob ungula, fled into the hills and committed suicide. In the following account, a survivor describes the conflict.)
Ndansi Kumalo, a personal account
We surrendered to the white people and were told to go back to our hoes and live our usual lives and attend to our crops. But the white men sent native police who did abominable things; they were cruel and assaulted a lot of our people and helped themselves to our cattle and goats. …They interfered with our wives and molested them… We thought it best to fight and die rather than bear it…
We knew that we had very little chance because their weapons were so much superior to ours. But we meant to fight to the last, feeling that even if we could not beat them we might at least kill a few of them and so have some sort of revenge…
I remember a fight in the Matoppos when we charged the white men. There were some hundreds of us; the white men also were many. We charged them at close quarters: we thought we had a good chance to kill them but the Maxims were too much for us…Many of our people were killed in this fight…
We were still fighting when we heard that [Cecil] Rhodes was coming and wanted to make peace with us. It was best to come to terms he said, and not to go shedding blood like this on both sides…So peace was made. Many of our people had been killed, and now we began to die of starvation; and then came the rinderpest and the cattle that were still left to us perished. We could not help thinking that all these dreadful things were brought by the white people.
(Background: In this passage from a book written at the height of World War I, the author seeks to persuade his readers that the common destiny of all humanity is more important than that of an individual nation or people.)
Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism in India
India has never had a real sense of nationalism. Even though from childhood I had been taught that idolatry of the nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against the education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity…
We must recognize that it is providential that the West has come to India. And yet someone must show the East to the West, and convince the West that the East has her contribution to make to the history of civilization. India is no beggar of the West. And yet even though the West may think she is, I am not for thrusting off Western civilization and becoming segregated in our independence. Let us have a deep association. If providence wants England to be the channel of that communication, of the deeper association, I am willing to accept it with all humility. I have great faith in human nature, and I think the West will find its true mission.
I speak bitterly of Western civilization when I am conscious that it is betraying its trust and thwarting its own purpose. The West must not make herself a curse to the world by using her power for her own selfish needs, but by teaching the ignorant and helping the weak, she should save herself from the worst danger that the strong is liable to incur, by making the feeble acquire power enough to resist her intrusion. And also she must not make her materialism to be the final thing, but must realize that she is doing a service in freeing the spiritual being from the tyranny of matter…
Once again I draw your attention to the difficulties India has had to encounter and her struggle to overcome them. Her problem was of the world in miniature. India is too vast in its area and too diverse in its races. It is many countries packed in one geographical receptacle. It is just the opposite of what Europe truly is, namely, one country made into many. Thus, Europe in its culture and growth has had the advantage of the strength of the many as well as the strength of the one. India, on the contrary, being naturally many, yet adventitiously one, has all along suffered from the looseness of its diversity and the feebleness of its unity. A true unity is like a round globe, it rolls on, carrying its burden easily; but diversity is a many cornered thing which has to be dragged and pushed with all force. Be it said to the credit of India that this diversity was not her own creation; she has had to accept it as a fact from the beginning of her history.
(Background: In 1862, the Vietnamese imperial court at Hue ceded three provinces in southern Vietnam to the French. In outrage, many patriotic Vietnamese military officers and government officials appealed to their compatriots to rise up spontaneously and resist the foreigners. The following passage is from an anonymous document written in 1864)
An appeal to resist the French
This is a general proclamation addressed to the scholars and the people.
Our country is about to undergo dangerous upheavals.
Certain persons are plotting treason.
Our people are now suffering through a period of anarchy and disorder… Nonetheless, even in times of confusion, there remain books that teach us how to overcome disorder. Past generations can still be for us examples of right and wrong… Let us now consider our situation with the French today.
We are separated from them by thousands of mountains and seas. By hundreds of differences in our daily customs.
Although they were very confident in their copper battleships surmounted by chimneys, Although they had a large quantity of steel rifles and lead bullets, These things did not prevent the loss of some of their best generals in these last years, when they attacked our frontier in hundreds of battles… Heaven will not leave our people enchained very long
Heaven will not allow then [the French] the free enjoyment of their lives… You, officials of the country, Do not let your resistance to the enemy be blunted by the peaceful stand of the court. Do not take the lead from the three subjected provinces and leave hatred unavenged… Such hostility, such hatred, such an enmity; our heart will be quieted before we are avenged… Do not envy the scholars who now become provincial or district magistrates [in the French administration]. They are decay, garbage, filth, and swine. Do not imitate some who hire themselves out to the enemy. They are idiots, fools, lackeys, scoundrels. At the beginning, you followed the way of righteousness. From beginning to end you ought to behave according to the moral obligations which bind you to your king. Life has fame, death too has fame. Act in such a way that your life and your death will be a fragrant ointment to your families and to your country.