Document-Based Question: Motives for Imperialism
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1. To complete this Graded Assignment, retrieve the Motives for Imperialism DBQ. Use this document with its essay instructions and the DBQ Checklist to complete this DBQ essay. Please consult the rubric throughout the process.
Using the documents, analyze the motives for imperialism. What additional kind of documents would you need to analyze this topic?
There were many different motives for imperialism around the world. Almost every great super power in the 19th and 20th centuries had colonies around the world. The motives for imperialism could have been seeking converts for Christianity, providing immigrants to work in factories, or seeking a place for Europeans to emigrate to. Every country wanted these things and Africa and South America provided them.
J.A Hobson, a British scholar compared Imperialism to that of a parasitic relationship in document 2. He talked about how the whites would organize native labor and work these natives under their direction for their own gain. When the Europeans were able to get such cheap labor so easily, it made sense that getting a colony was wanted. This cheap labor coupled with the vast natural resources of Africa were a large reason for imperialism. A different unnamed scholar said that imperialism was beneficial for the natives of the land that was colonized and that “Under the progressive nation’s direction, these places can yield tropical produce and in return the progressive nations bring the natives foodstuffs and manufactured goods that they need and the progressive nations develop the territory by building roads, canals, railways, and telegraphs.” (doc. 3) In document 5, Jules Ferry who was the prime minister of France talked about how Europe needed the colonies for the navy. He said that without the colonies, the ships would run out of coal and because of that they need ports and harbors across the world.
In document 4, an unnamed scholar talked about how imperialism affected missionaries. These missionaries went around the world to spread their religion and many people in Europe wanted to spread Christianity. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany talked about just how having the land was a big part of imperialism. “In spite of the fact that we have no such fleet as we should have, we have conquered for ourselves a place in the sun.” (doc. 1) He believes that just owning the land will help Germany with trade, industry, and agriculture. John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher and economist said that “the removal of population from the overcrowded to the unoccupied parts of the earth’s surface is one of those works of eminent social usefulness. To appreciate the benefits of colonization, it should be considered in its relation to the total interests of the human race.” Many people believed that Europe was over populated and that relieving this overpopulation would benefit the human race as a whole.
There were also people that believed that these undeveloped nations are grateful for the colonization. US Senator Albert Breveridge was one of them. In document 7, he states that the people of the colonized lands should be thankful for the US saving them from the savage world that they were living in. A West African nationalist named Sekou Toure believed that colonization could have worked if they did not do 1 thing. “Colonialism’s greatest misdeed was to have tried to strip us of our responsibility in conducting our own affairs and convince us that our civilization was nothing less than savagery.” (doc 6.)
Overall, there were many different motives for imperialism. Some wanted the cheap…