During the 1800s, many countries such as England, Germany, Japan, and the United States went through a period of industrialization*. Imperialism was important when these countries moved toward industrialization. Following are some important points about imperialism:
- Industrial countries required massive amounts of natural resources (also called raw materials), and started to build up their armies to allow them to take over other less developed areas of the world.
- Once a country took over another country, it would send the natural resources back to be used to make finished goods. They would often sell the goods back to the conquered land and the rest of the world. Examples of the natural resources needed would be coal, iron, cotton, and oil.
- This was a time period of rising nationalism and countries took pride in controlling more territory. Other nations such as England and Spain had colonial territories, and the increasingly strong and prosperous United States had the resources to participate in gaining control of other lands.
- There was competition between imperialistic countries to see which country was the most powerful. As a result of this, the Olympics and the World's Fair were created.
- Social Darwinism and White Man's Burden. The more industrialized countries felt they were superior and a more advanced society than less developed countries. Imperialists also saw the people of the captured countries as lesser people. Discrimination was rampant.
- The imperialistic country that took over other countries attempted to convert the inhabitants to the imperialistic country's way of life, re-educating the inhabitants regardless of the natives' wishes.
Not everyone agreed with these ideas, however. Certain groups protested America's increasing involvement in world politics and were angered by the imposition of American ideals on other countries.
To learn more about imperialism, click on the attached links below.
* Bold terms are defined in U2 Terms below
Go to the next page to take the quiz on imperialism.