Imperialism Unveiled: Its Catalysts and Impact

Categories: Imperialism

The surge of new imperialism in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries can be attributed to various interconnected factors, with the Industrial Revolution serving as a pivotal catalyst. Technological advancements facilitated European nations' control over vast territories in the New World. However, beyond industrial progress, economic, political, and social forces played crucial roles in shaping the landscape of imperialism during this period. This essay aims to explore the multifaceted influences that contributed to the onset of imperialism and its subsequent manifestations.

The Industrial Revolution: Technological Advancements and Imperial Expansion

The Industrial Revolution marked a transformative era in history, characterized by rapid technological advancements and the mechanization of industries. This epochal shift empowered European nations, providing them with the tools to extend their influence globally. William L. Langer, in Document 5, highlights the psychological impact of evolutionary teachings such as the "survival of the fittest" during this period. Langer contends that this theory, emphasizing competition and ruthlessness, significantly influenced economic growth. The quest for economic prosperity fueled the desire to expand territories, as nations sought to secure resources and markets for their burgeoning industries.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Imperialism

star star star star 4.9 (247)

“ Rhizman is absolutely amazing at what he does . I highly recommend him if you need an assignment done ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Survival of the fittest, a pervasive theory suggesting the dominance of the strongest, became a driving force behind imperialistic ambitions. The insatiable pursuit of wealth and power motivated individuals to seek territorial expansion, contributing to the broader phenomenon of imperialism. The Industrial Revolution not only altered economic landscapes but also instilled a competitive ethos that fueled imperialistic endeavors.

The Growing Power of Governments: A Political Force Behind Imperialism

Parallel to the economic forces at play, the growing power of governments emerged as a significant political impetus for imperialism.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Document 9 visually represents the colonization of Africa by European nations, showcasing the expanding territorial dominance of these states. Document 3 further elucidates that colonial undertakings were primarily fueled by political ambitions rather than a pursuit of capitalist profits. The nations' will to power and aspirations for glory and national greatness propelled them toward imperialistic ventures.

The political force driving imperialism manifested in the Europeans' quest for dominance and influence. As governments grew stronger, the desire for territorial expansion became intertwined with notions of national pride. The colonization of distant lands became a tangible expression of a nation's strength and authority on the global stage, solidifying the role of political forces in the imperialism of this era.

Racism as a Social Force: Cultural Biases and Imperialistic Justifications

Embedded within the fabric of imperialism was a potent social force—racism. Document 7 exemplifies the ethnocentric beliefs held by European nations, with President William McKinley asserting the perceived superiority of his people. This belief in the inherent inadequacy of other cultures justified the imperialistic mission to civilize and Christianize "lesser" civilizations, as articulated in McKinley's statement.

This racial superiority complex was further echoed in Documents 6 and 4. Rudyard Kipling, in Document 6, conceptualizes the imperialistic endeavor as "The White Man's Burden," emphasizing the perceived obligation of the superior race to uplift and civilize the native populations. Cecil Rhodes, in Document 4, unabashedly declares the Britons as the finest race in the world, reinforcing the hierarchical view that non-Britons were inferior.

Racism, as a social force, played a pivotal role in justifying imperialistic actions. The belief in the cultural superiority of Europeans fueled their mission to expand their influence and reshape societies in their image. This cultural bias became intertwined with the imperialistic narrative, providing a moral justification for the subjugation of indigenous populations.

Conclusion: The Interplay of Forces in Imperialistic Endeavors

In conclusion, the new imperialism of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a complex phenomenon shaped by the interplay of various forces. While the Industrial Revolution provided the technological impetus for territorial expansion, economic, political, and social forces were equally instrumental in driving imperialistic ambitions. Survival of the fittest fueled economic competition, growing governmental power propelled nations towards imperial glory, and racism provided the moral justification for cultural dominance.

This era of imperialism, marked by the relentless pursuit of territorial acquisitions, left an indelible mark on global history. The interconnected forces explored in this essay shed light on the motivations and justifications that underpinned imperialistic endeavors during this transformative period.

Updated: Dec 15, 2023
Cite this page

Imperialism Unveiled: Its Catalysts and Impact. (2016, Feb 28). Retrieved from

Imperialism Unveiled: Its Catalysts and Impact essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment