Migrations, Unit 9 Chose one of the two questions posited below: 1. What impact did Western (Europe and the United States) emigration and conquest have on the colonized peoples and their countries?
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2. What were the motives of the Western colonizers and their justifications for colonization?
Introduction Migrants and armies abroad Atlantic migration in the second half of the nineteenth century took the form of millions of people leaving their European birthplaces in search of better opportunities. The size and the speed of these migratory movements were unprecedented. At the same time, a few powerful governments, mostly in these same European countries, invaded, annexed, and otherwise took control of lands in Asia, Africa, and the world’s islands.
The resulting changes were demographic, political, and cultural. The distribution of world population changed, as Europeans filled many spaces in the Americas. The political map of the planet changed, as a small number of great powers took control of large territories. The patterns of the world’s languages changed, as migrating families and conquering generals each took their languages to new lands.
This stream of migrants from Europe was not the only great migration of the era. Large numbers of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and other Asian workers and settlers moved across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Similarly, there was large-scale labor migration within Africa and Latin America in the same period. However, the European migrations were the biggest, and overall, 1850 to 1920 was the most intensive era of migration in human history.
The British Empire, the dominant world power at this time, reflected the patterns of empire and emigration. Britain controlled areas known as “settler colonies” to which large numbers of migrants went from the home country: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the West Indies. Britain also consolidated its hold on India and gained control of great new territories in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, and in West, East, and South Africa. Furthermore, millions of migrants moved from Britain beyond the boundaries of the empire, especially to the United States.
The cultural impact of empire and migration was manifested in, among other things, the languages of the world. English became the language of government for as much as one-fourth of the world’s population. It was the native language in settler colonies and the language of government in conquest colonies. French became the official language in much of Africa, Southeast Asia, Syria, and Lebanon, and in several Pacific islands. Russian became the official language in newly conquered areas of Central Asia.
This was the European era. Empire-building and migration were two major processes through which European societies — and societies based on European models — came to dominate the world of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Empires of land, capital, and culture Empires had risen and fallen for millennia, but this “new imperialism” brought the idea of empire to a new height. By 1920, a larger portion of the world was governed by empires than at any previous time in history. In each case, it is useful to think of the empire as consisting of a homeland and its colonies.
Empires of land were the immense new territories ruled by great powers. The German Empire came into existence in 1870 after the military defeat of France. It comprised a combination of many states in Europe. By 1885, Germany had added some overseas colonies to the empire. The British Empire, created in earlier centuries, expanded significantly from 1870 to 1905. The Second French Empire, created in 1852, was replaced in 1870 by the Third French Republic, but the term French Empire continued to be used for overseas territories. The Russian Empire conquered territories in Central Asia in the 1870s. Similarly, the United States conquered and annexed territories across North America and later took overseas territories. These were sometimes called the American Empire, but when territories were accepted into the union as states, as with California in 1850, they were no longer referred to as part of the empire.
Empires of capital consisted of home-country control of markets and productive resources in other countries. Numerous critics chose to explain territorial empire through what the English analyst John Hobson called (in 1903) its “economic taproot.” According to this view, the essence of imperialism was not political conquest but the establishment of overseas economic control through export of investment funds and domination of commerce. According to this view, Latin America was part of the British Empire in the nineteenth century. By the same logic, Latin America became part of the American Empire in the twentieth century. In another example of this reasoning, Russia, with its great empire of land, was within the orbit of France, which controlled much Russian capital.
The interplay of industry and labor had much to do with the growth of empire. Debates on slavery and on economic freedom accompanied this era of rapid industrial change. Industrial growth generated a demand for labor and for migration. Industry provided improved steamships, telegraphs, and repeating rifles to imperial states. The increased advantage of the great powers in military and other technologies had much to do with the expansion of empire, and may also have had much to do with migration.
Empires of culture developed in association with the empires of land and capital. Those in the imperial heartland took on a sense of cultural superiority. They argued that the “West” and the “civilized world” were superior in accomplishment and in intellectual capacity to people of non-European countries or non-white races. In this case, culture referred not to the specifics of material or expressive culture but to an overall “way of life.” The era of “new imperialism” was filled with comparisons of cultures categorized by race, religion, nationality, and language. The French spoke of their “civilizing mission” and gave great emphasis to the extension of the French language. Britain and the U.S., while at odds in many ways, gradually cooperated in extending the idea of “Anglo-Saxon” culture.
Emigration Most European emigration or out-migration was voluntary, though some of it was impelled by harsh conditions at home. The crushing of European worker rebellions in 1848 and the pogroms in Russian villages in 1880-1881 each caused large streams of migration. Under these circumstances, migrants were probably motivated by a desire for political freedom, safety, and social and economic opportunity.
Migrants in mid-nineteenth-century Europe went first to nearby cities and then to areas beyond their borders. In the British Isles, migrants moved from rural Scotland to centers such as Edinburgh and especially Glasgow. Irish workers went in some numbers to Belfast and Dublin and in larger numbers to the growing industrial and commercial centers of Liverpool and Manchester. These were movements to build the family in part, but also (for those unhappy at home) movements to escape the family. When English-speaking migrants moved to Australia and Canada, they were in part migrating to build the empire. Those who moved to the United States might be seen as having left to escape the empire.
Based on the migration patterns for late-nineteenth-century Britain, the rural populations were still able to grow despite the large number of people who left for the cities and went overseas. Since most of the overseas migrants were male, European cities had more females than males.
The rural population of France was comparatively slow to move, either to cities in France or to areas beyond the homeland. Perhaps the gains of the French peasantry during the revolution of the 1790s made them more content to remain on their lands. The French government was anxious to create a new empire, however: to that end, it invaded Algeria in 1830 and supported a move by Austrian Prince Maximilian to gain control of Mexico at the end of the 1850s. French settlers did move by the thousands to Algeria after 1850, but they migrated in relatively small numbers to other lands.
In 1850, what became the kingdom of Italy consisted of two major kingdoms (Sicily and Piedmont), a major republic (Venice), the Papal States, and some smaller units. An Italian consciousness had existed for centuries, but only in the mid-nineteenth century did the movement toward national unity gain real momentum. Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi led in the early stages; King Victor Emmanuel of Piedmont was there to lead at the end, becoming King of Italy in 1861.
The movement toward national unity paralleled the industrialization and urbanization of Italy. Peasants streamed into Italian cities. At the same time, many moved beyond the newly unified Italy, to areas of North Africa conquered by France, then to Brazil, to Argentina, and later to the United States. Most of these migrants sought to build the family, in the sense that a very large proportion of the men going overseas were sojourners, who returned home once they had built up an income. Others sought to build new families as settlers in North Africa or the Americas. All of these could be said to have moved to escape the empire.
In later years, a smaller number of migrants sought to build the empire, moving to Italian colonies established in Eritrea, Somalia, and later Libya. Spanish migrants, following similar patterns, traveled to the Caribbean and South America in numbers half as large as the Italians. In a different fashion, Migration of Russians echoed the complexity of the migratory patterns of Italians. The emancipation of Russian serfs in 1861 gave peasants the right to move, though they had to apply for passports. Russians went first in largest numbers from their homes to other rural areas, from the Ukraine to Central Asia. Second, they moved to Russian cities, and third overseas, especially Jewish migrants to the U.S.
Conquests At the same time as European migrants were changing the population of some regions, the empires of the world were redrawing the map of political power in other areas, particularly in Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa. European empires took control of vast lands. In some cases, the conquests resulted from major battles, as in the Zulu kingdom in 1879-1880, Egypt in 1882, Madagascar in 1895-1896, and the Sokoto Caliphate in 1898. In other cases, Europeans annexed territories by treaty and later quashed rebellions to affirm their control. Small numbers of migrants from the European countries came to dominate the governments and economies of these territories. An unusual case of such imperial conquest was that of Congo, in which the king of Belgium was able to maintain his personal control over an immense territory for over twenty years.
For the Europeans, these conquests brought stories of exploration, annexation, and settlement. In part, Europeans conquered new lands in the hope of gaining control of economic resources. Sometimes it worked out — diamonds in South Africa, uranium in Congo, oil in Kuwait, tin and rubber in Malaya, and rice in Burma. In many other cases, no great wealth resulted.
For the African and Asian peoples concerned, the conquests brought episodes of resistance, assimilation, and expulsion. The conquerors seized the best lands and used taxation to force the inhabitants to work on their enterprises. As the French conquered the upper Niger Valley of West Africa in 1883, they required the slaves of the previous regime to stay in place and produce grain to supply the French army. In 1904, the slaves rose up and left, returning to their previous homes.
When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, its Arabic-speaking territories were divided among Britain and France. Britain established monarchies in Jordan and Iraq, while France ruled Syria and Lebanon directly. The establishment of British rule over Palestine, to which Jewish settlers had been coming from Russia and western Europe for decades, helped set the stage for a new conflict. In the Balfour Declaration of 1920, the British prime minister encouraged the flow of Eastern European Jews intending to settle in Palestine.
In the case of the Japanese Empire, conquest and migration went in different directions. Japanese migrants moved to Pacific islands, notably Hawaii, as agricultural laborers, and then moved on to the United States, Brazil, and Peru. Meanwhile, Japan sought treaty rights in China, gained control of Taiwan in 1890, and seized control of Korea in 1910, five years after defeating Russia in a war for dominance in the western Pacific Ocean. After World War I, Japan was awarded control of some Pacific islands that had been under German rule.
For the United States, the path of migration and empire was longer and more complex. With purchases and treaties from other imperial powers, the U.S. gained control of Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, and Alaska. Then through allying with settlers who sought to build the empire by rebellion and warfare, the U.S. gained Texas and California from Mexico. The U.S. also annexed Hawaii in 1893 and five years later launched its conquest of the Spanish territories of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Of these, only Hawaii gained a large number of settlers from the U.S., and only Cuba was able to gain rapid independence.
Conclusion: Migrating to and from empire Your task in this unit is to seek out connections between the patterns of migration and patterns in imperial annexation. Migration and conquest are two different phenomena. One is individually motivated and the other is the result of government policy — though governments can encourage or discourage migration. Why did European migration and imperial conquest take place at the same time? Industrialization — both in factories and fields — was clearly an important factor in the timing of both movements.
But the full pattern of causation may be too complex to summarize in a simple statement. If that is the case, you may find it easier to discuss the connections with regard to the results of migration and empire building. One set of patterns is that of the movement of migrants to and from empire. People of Europe migrated, mostly, away from the empire of their own country. Migrants from Italy, Austria, Scandinavia, and Germany migrated overwhelmingly away from their empires, Migrants from Britain and Spain moved in large numbers to their colonies, but in larger numbers away from their empire. People of Asia, meanwhile, migrated mainly to empires of great powers: in particular across the Pacific or to British territories in the Indian Ocean.
The expansion of empires usually involved gaining control of lands overseas. But sometimes, as with the U.S. conquests and the Russian conquests, the new lands adjoined the homeland. (Canada and Argentina had similar experiences.) In these cases, most settlers came from the national homeland. For example, even while Russian Jews moved away from the empire, most other Russians moved within the empire.
A second way to explore connections created by migration and empire building is through culture. You will find some interesting connections in the specifics of culture, such as in language, a form of expressive culture. However, you may also be interested in the generalities of culture. We wish to focus here on the aggregates of cultural practices that we call a “way of life,” including such holistic perspectives as “Western culture” or “Islamic culture.”
The combination of empire building and migration created so many connections around the world that people started to generalize about culture. The nations of the West came to be distinguished from the peoples of the East. In the West, the industrial nations of Europe and North America were dominated by the white race and had parliamentary governments. In the East, the peoples of Asia and Africa were mostly dark-skinned and lived without industrial wealth, many of them under colonial rule. The Soviet Union, the workers' state that emerged from the ashes of the Russian Empire, was categorized along with the other peoples and states of the East. Latin America, while formally part of the West according to this hierarchy, tended to be neglected within it.
Thus, the combination of empire building and migration set the scene for the divisions and conflicts of the twentieth century. It created the geographical and political categories of East and West, North and South. The two great movements of migration and imperial conquest reached a peak just after 1910 and then were nearly halted by the disaster of the Great War (later known as World War I) from 1914 through 1918.
Raymond Bridgman, a Boston writer, published Loyal Traitors in 1903, to criticize the U.S. intervention in the Philippines (1898-1903). The story tells of Boston friends and families divided into supporters and opponents of the U.S. conquest of Philippines from Spain and suppression of the Philippine independence movement. In this excerpt, as U.S. troops are withdrawing after gaining victory, the author portrays U.S. servicemen breaking up families they have formed with Philippine women.
“It’s wretched business, Dexter! I confess it to you. And now that we are going home, there are some other puzzling questions to settle about our soldiers. You know what the worst have done, and you know that not all even of the best of the men have been what they ought to be out here. Some of them, however, are lawfully married to Filipino wives. Come around to-morrow and see how I shall have to settle some of these cases. I have used all my influence to have the married ones remain here like decent men, to take care of their families; but they are kicking, and I expect trouble.”
Captain Dexter promised to come, and went away encouraged to think that perhaps he had made an impression upon the mind of one American colonel who might have some influence with the higher powers.
The next day, when Captain Dexter, getting time off from his bookkeeping, called on Colonel Allen, he found him in the midst of a singular group. American soldiers, officers, and Filipino women with babies in their arms combined to make up the gathering.
“Now, madam,” the colonel was saying just as Captain Deter entered the room “what is your name, and what do you want to say to me?”
The person addressed was the tallest and most superior looking among the Filipino women there.
“I am Senora Patrick O’Flaherty, most excellent colonel,” replied the woman proudly, “and I ask you to give an honorable discharge to my husband, as you said you would do to any soldier who would stay here with his family.”
“Yes, I did say so, and I expect to carry out my promise. Come here O’Flaherty.”
A ruddy-faced Irishman stepped up and saluted.
“You remember what I said, that every soldier who remains with his family here shall have an honorable discharge.”
“Are you ready to promise to stay and take care of your wife and child?”
“And did any one t’ink I wud be after marrying a swate gir-rl and living wid her, and then run away from her and the babby? Give me an honorable dischar-rge, sorr, and I’ll stay, thank he.”
“All right; I’m glad of it. You shall have the papers. Senora, here’s your husband, and I wish you much happiness.”
“Many thanks, most excellent colonel,” exclaimed the grateful wife. Then, turning to her cheerful husband, she added: “Come home with me, Patrick, and I’ll make a good Filipino of you.”
“Yis, begorra,” said Patrick, his countenance all one broad grin, “and I’ll spake Spanish to bate the band, me gir-rl!”
This however, was the only instance in that company in which any American soldier would remain and care for the woman he had married.
During the time that another couple were before the colonel, and while he was trying in vain to influence the man to do his duty by his wife, Captain Dexter witnessed with pain a side incident. There was a soldier whom he had heard addressed as Lieutenant Henderson, who called his wife by her first name of Macaria. She had a young baby on her arm, and she was pleading with the man not to desert her. He was rought and repelling.
“Remember the baby, Charles,” she pleaded, “even if you care nothing for me. He is yours. Remember that we were lawfully married by the priest and that I was not like a great many other women.”
“Oh, fudge!” was his rough answer. “You better go home and mind your baby if you think so much of him. He will grow up just like any of the rest of your niggers. You’ll get along all right, somehow or other. I don’t propose to stay in this infernal country, and I don’t propose to take you to the States. You have made your bed and you have got to lie in it.”
“But you promised me, Charles, that you would not rtreat me as other men treated their wives. You promised me you would never go away.”
“That was a good while ago. I have changed my mind.”
“But the baby, Charles! The baby! You can’t go away and leave him.”
“Ain’t he your baby? Ain’t you his mother, and ain’t you goin’ to take care of him? I guess you’ll find out that he is yours as much as he’s mine, and that you have got to take care of him or let him starve.”
“Oh, Charles!” exclaimed the distressed mother. “Take us both to your country with you!”
“Not by a long shot! I have had all I want of you and of your infernal country; so now you clear out and go off. I am through talking with you.”
Brutally he turned his back upon her, and Senora Charles Henderson, once Senorita Macaria Lingat, took up her baby, her shame, and her widowhood, and went sadly back to her father’s house. As she was going slowly out, Captain Dexter’s ear caught the words:
“When baby is big enough, he will fight the Americans!”
This scene witnessed by Dexter was typical of others. Colonel Allen’s persuasion was ineffective, and the regiment went home with another heavy charge in the long score which the future has laid up against the American people for their treatment of peoples weaker than themselves, struggling for their independence.
John A. Hobson, Imperialism
During the nineteenth century the struggle towards nationalism, or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality, was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. That struggle, in external politics, sometimes took a disruptive form, as in the case of Greece, Servia, Roumania, and Bulgaria breaking from Ottoman rule, and the detachment of North Italy from her unnatural alliance with the Austrian Empire. In other cases it was a unifying or a centralising force, enlarging the area of nationality, as in the case of Italy and the PanSlavist movement in Russia. Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States, as in United Germany and in North America.
It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further, making for federal union of diverse nationalities, as in the cases of Austria-Hungary, Norway and Sweden, and the Swiss Federation. But the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related States and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances which covered large areas of Europe since the breakup of the Empire. This was the most definite achievement of the nineteenth century. The force of nationality, operating in this work, is quite as visible in the failures to achieve political freedom as in the successes; and the struggles of Irish, Poles, Finns, Hungarians, and Czechs to resist the forcible subjection to or alliance with stronger neighbours brought out in its full vigor the powerful sentiment of nationality.
The middle of the century was especially distinguished by a series of definitely "nationalist" revivals, some of which found important interpretation in dynastic changes, while others were crushed or collapsed. Holland, Poland, Belgium, Norway, the Balkans, formed a vast arena for these struggles of national forces.
The close of the third quarter of the century saw Europe fairly settled into large national States or federations of States, though in the nature of the case there can be no finality, and Italy continued to look to Trieste, as Germany still looks to Austria, for the fulfillment of her manifest destiny.
This passion and the dynastic forms it helped to mould and animate are largely attributable to the fierce prolonged resistance which peoples, both great and small, were called on to maintain against the imperial designs of Napoleon. The national spirit of England was roused by the tenseness of the struggle to a self-consciousness it had never experienced since "the spacious days of great Elizabeth." Jena made Prussia into a great nation; the Moscow campaign brought Russia into the field of European nationalities as a factor in politics, opening her for the first time to the full tide of Western ideas and influences.
Turning from this territorial and dynastic nationalism to the spirit of racial, linguistic, and economic solidarity which has been the underlying motive, we find a still more remarkable movement. Local particularism on the one hand, vague cosmopolitanism upon the other, yielded to a ferment of nationalist sentiment, manifesting itself among the weaker peoples not merely in a sturdy and heroic resistance against political absorption or territorial nationalism, but in a passionate revival of decaying customs, language, literature and art; while it bred in more dominant peoples strange ambitions of national "destiny" and an attendant spirit of Chauvinism. .
No mere array of facts and figures adduced to illustrate the economic nature of the new Imperialism will suffice to dispel the popular delusion that the use of national force to secure new markets by annexing fresh tracts of territory is a sound and a necessary policy for an advanced industrial country like Great Britain....
But these arguments are not conclusive. It is open to Imperialists to argue thus: "We must have markets for our growing manufactures, we must have new outlets for the investment of our surplus capital and for the energies of the adventurous surplus of our population: such expansion is a necessity of life to a nation with our great and growing powers of production. An ever larger share of our population is devoted to the manufactures and commerce of towns, and is thus dependent for life and work upon food and raw materials from foreign lands. In order to buy and pay for these things we must sell our goods abroad. During the first three quarters of the nineteenth century we could do so without difficulty by a natural expansion of commerce with continental nations and our colonies, all of which were far behind us in the main arts of manufacture and the carrying trades. So long as England held a virtual monopoly of the world markets for certain important classes of manufactured goods, Imperialism was unnecessary.
After 1870 this manufacturing and trading supremacy was greatly impaired: other nations, especially Germany, the United States, and Belgium, advanced with great rapidity, and while they have not crushed or even stayed the increase of our external trade, their competition made it more and more difficult to dispose of the full surplus of our manufactures at a profit. The encroachments made by these nations upon our old markets, even in our own possessions, made it most urgent that we should take energetic means to secure new markets. These new markets had to lie in hitherto undeveloped countries, chiefly in the tropics, where vast populations lived capable of growing economic needs which our manufacturers and merchants could supply. Our rivals were seizing and annexing territories for similar purposes, and when they had annexed them closed them to our trade The diplomacy and the arms of Great Britain had to be used in order to compel the owners of the new markets to deal with us: and experience showed that the safest means of securing and developing such markets is by establishing 'protectorates' or by annexation....
It was this sudden demand for foreign markets for manufactures and for investments which was avowedly responsible for the adoption of Imperialism as a political policy.... They needed Imperialism because they desired to use the public resources of their country to find profitable employment for their capital which otherwise would be superfluous....
Every improvement of methods of production, every concentration of ownership and control, seems to accentuate the tendency. As one nation after another enters the machine economy and adopts advanced industrial methods, it becomes more difficult for its manufacturers, merchants, and financiers to dispose profitably of their economic resources, and they are tempted more and more to use their Governments in order to secure for their particular use some distant undeveloped country by annexation and protection.
The process, we may be told, is inevitable, and so it seems upon a superficial inspection. Everywhere appear excessive powers of production, excessive capital in search of investment. It is admitted by all business men that the growth of the powers of production in their country exceeds the growth in consumption, that more goods can be produced than can be sold at a profit, and that more capital exists than can find remunerative investment.
It is this economic condition of affairs that forms the taproot of Imperialism. If the consuming public in this country raised its standard of consumption to keep pace with every rise of productive powers, there could be no excess of goods or capital clamorous to use Imperialism in order to find markets: foreign trade would indeed exist....
Everywhere the issue of quantitative versus qualitative growth comes up. This is the entire issue of empire. A people limited in number and energy and in the land they occupy have the choice of improving to the utmost the political and economic management of their own land, confining themselves to such accessions of territory as are justified by the most economical disposition of a growing population; or they may proceed, like the slovenly farmer, to spread their power and energy over the whole earth, tempted by the speculative value or the quick profits of some new market, or else by mere greed of territorial acquisition, and ignoring the political and economic wastes and risks involved by this imperial career. It must be clearly understood that this is essentially a choice of alternatives; a full simultaneous application of intensive and extensive cultivation is impossible.
A nation may either, following the example of Denmark or Switzerland, put brains into agriculture, develop a finely varied system of public education, general and technical, apply the ripest science to its special manufacturing industries, and so support in progressive comfort and character a considerable population upon a strictly limited area; or it may, like Great r Britain, neglect its agriculture, allowing its lands to go out of cultivation and its population to grow up in towns, fall behind other nations in its methods of education and in the capacity of adapting to its uses the latest scientific knowledge, in order that it may squander its pecuniary and military resources in forcing bad markets and finding speculative fields of investment in distant corners of the earth, adding millions of square miles and of unassimilable population to the area of the Empire.
The driving forces of class interest which stimulate and support this false economy we have explained. No remedy will serve which permits the future operation of these forces. It is idle to attack Imperialism or Militarism as political expedients or policies unless the axe is laid at the economic root of the tree, and the classes for whose interest Imperialism works are shorn of the surplus revenues which seek this outlet.