Chapter 26: The West and the World
The West and the World
Industrialization and the World Economy
The Rise of Global Inequality
In 1750 European standard of living approximated that of the rest of the world.
Industrialization opened the gap between Europe and the rest of the world, with Britain leading.
Between 1870 and 1914, the heavily industrialized nations of Western Europe earned the loyalty of their citizens by:
Extending the right to vote to almost all adult males.
Acquiring colonies to promote economic expansion and national pride.
Increasing the availability of public education.
Legalizing trade unions.
Third World income per person stagnated before 1945.
Two schools of interpretation of resulting income differences.
West used science, technology, and capitalism to create wealth.
West used superior power to steal much of its riches from the rest of the world.
The World Market
the world in manufacturing and
, after 1846, as a market for goods from other countries.
Britain’s commitment to free trade also facilitated the growth of world trade.
Railroads, steam vessels, and the Panama and Suez Canals helped expand trade.
From the mid-1800s France, Germany, and Britain invested massively abroad.
Most of this capital actually went to Europe itself or to the Americas.
By 1913, world trade had grown twenty-five times that of 1800.
The Gradual Decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19
This created the most serious diplomatic and political tension in Europe between Russia and Austria as each tried to acquire territory from the disintegrating empire.
The Opening of China and Japan
British and French forced the reluctant Qing dynasty to open China to their trade (1839-1860)
The United States Navy used military pressure to force Japan to open its ports to foreign trade (1853-1858) which eventually led to the Meiji Restoration which featured:
A Japanese military modeled along European lines.
The borrowing of Western science and technology.
A free, competitive, government-stimulated economy.
The hiring of Western technological specialists.
The Western Penetration of Egypt
Muhammad Ali modernizes Egyptian army and government,
, makes Egypt autonomous within Ottoman Empire (first half of 1800s)
Ali’s encouragement of commercial agriculture turns peasants into tenant farmers.
Ali’s grandson, Ismail (r. 1863-1879) continues modernization.
Arabic replaces Turkish of Ottomans.
French company builds Suez Canal (1869)
Cairo gets modern boulevards.
Large-scale export of cotton.
Inability of Egyptian government to pay off massive debts due to modernization.
British occupy Egypt to force payment (1882)
The Great Migration
Population pressure in Europe led to mass emigration in the 1800s
Emigration peaked in the decade before World War I
About one-third of all European emigrants came from the British Isles.
German emigration peaked later than British (1880s), and Italian even later (increasing through 1914)
The German migration pattern was linked to the level of industrial development: As industrialization provided more jobs in Germany fewer people emigrated.
The typical European migrant was a young, unmarried peasant farmer or rural craftsman.
Some ethnic groups,
such as Italians
, had a high rate of return to their homelands.
The primary factor that influenced whether European immigrants returned to their native lands was the possibility of buying land in their home country.
For some immigrants, such as Jews from the Russian Empire, emigration was an escape from the violent anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.
They were the immigrant group least likely to return to their native land.
Most Europeans migrated for economic reasons.
Western Imperialism reached its apex between 1880 and 1914 in a rush for
rather than just an economic empire.
The new imperialism focused on formal political control of territory.
Characteristics of the New Imperialism included:
The use of military force.
Political domination of the new colonies.
Self-justifying ideology in support of imperialism.
Use of the telegraph and steamship to concentrate force rapidly against any resistance.
The scramble for Africa
Before 1880, European penetration of Africa was limited to French control of Algiers, British and
Dutch settlers in South Africa
, and Portuguese coastal enclaves in western Africa
German chancellor Otto von Bismarck at first disdained the acquisition of colonies as a waste of effort and funds.
But later he took several African colonies for Germany.
The Berlin Conference (1884-1885) established that European claims on African territory had to be secured by “effective occupation.”
This set up the terms for the division of Africa among European colonial powers.
This then led to a rush into the interior of Africa.
The Boer War (1898-1902) led to British creation and control of the Union of South Africa.
By 1900, European powers ruled all of Africa except Ethiopia and Liberia.
Imperialism in Asia
After 1815, Dutch expanded their control of the Indonesian archipelago
French took Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos)
Russians expanded in Central Asia and along north Chinese frontier.
The United States acquired the Philippines after the Spanish-American War of 1898.
The British took India.
Upper-caste Hindus were the one social group in India that has the greatest opportunities under British colonial rule.
Causes of the New Imperialism
Tariff barriers limiting imports too much of Europe and to the U.S. led major industrial powers to seek new markets.
In reality, most new colonies were not profitable.
Colonies were seen, however, as important for military bases and naval coaling stations.
Colonies were also important for national prestige.
Heinrich von Treitschke reflected the nationalist drive
for colonies when he stated
, “There has never been a great power without colonies.”
Social Darwinist theory predicted death for societies that did not compete in the colonial race.
New technological innovations (machine guns, quinine, telegraph, and steamships) were crucial to European expansion.
Conservative political leaders fostered pride in empire as a means of damping down social tension.
Shipping companies, military men, and missionaries all advocated colonial expansion.
Europeans often discusses colonial expansions in terms of a “civilizing mission,” an imperative to bring Europe’s supposedly superior civilization, Christianity, etc, to “backward” people
Rudyard Kipling’s “white man’s burden” is an example of this attitude
J.A. Hobson and others argued that colonies only benefited the wealthiest elites in Europe and actually cost ordinary taxpayers money.
He believed it diverted attention away from much-needed domestic reforms.
That it resulted from capitalists’ search for profitable investments.
Benefited only a small number of private interests.
Imperial possessions did not pay off for the imperial country as a whole.
Other critics, such as Joseph Conrad, saw European imperialism as racist, exploitive, and contrary to the West’s own liberal values.
Other critics of imperialism included V.I. Lenin and Henry Labourchére.
Responses to Western Imperialism
Stages of response
The initial response,
as in China
, Japan, and Sudan, was to try to drive foreigners away.
Ahmed Arabi of Egypt exemplifies armed resistance to Western imperialism
But when he failed the British took direct political control of Egypt—Which was a dramatic break with earlier 19
century European expansion.
The Sino-British War, which ended with the Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) in 1842, was caused by Chinese attempts to stop the British-controlled opium trade.
The Boxer Rebellion was a rebellion of traditionalist Chinese patriots who wished to expel all Westerners from China.
In the Battle of Obdurman, the British only lost 28 troops while the Sudanese force lost 11,000.
When this failed, many Asians and Africans retreated to a defense of traditional culture.
Others, such as Ismail,
the khedive of Egypt
, sought to modernize and match the West.
One reason for the initial acceptance of European imperial rule by the great majority of Asians and Africans was that political participation had generally been limited to small elites.
Later, European liberalism provided resisters with an ideology of political self-determination and nationalism.
The Christian missionary effort was characterized by the following:
Construction of schools.
A Eurocentric, racist attitude
Some success in sub-Saharan Africa
General failure in India and the Islamic world.
Despite initial resistance, Japan responded the best to Western imperialism.
The Sino-Japanese War led to a fresh round of imperialistic activity in China.
In 1910, Korea became a colony of Japan.
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