To what degree did the benefits of nineteenth century European imperialism outweigh the consequences?
• You must cite documents in this packet in addition to a minimum of three outside sources in your essay.
• You must also complete the bibliography page at the end of the essay.
It was this last objective that eventually brought war.
China Confronts Britain
A 19th century lithograph of a
Cantonese Opium Den
Note some of the people are in
During the 1700’s, the British became a nation of tea drinkers and the demand for Chinese tea rose astronomically.
By about 1840, it is estimated that the average London worker spent five percent of his or her total household budget on tea.
So…why were the British importing so much from China?
Western dominance of China began
with the Opium War of 1839-1842
This war proved once and for all that
industrial powers could completely
dominate any non-industrial nation—
even great nations such as China
The Opium War, between the English
& the Chinese, is often seen as the
ultimate example of Imperialism
The Big Picture, part 2
By 1900, China was completely
dominated by the industrial
powers of Europe, the
USA & Japan.
How did this come to pass?
As in Africa and India, the industrial nations had superior technology and more advanced economies.
Essay on European Imperialism in Late 19th Century Africa
Most explanations of 19th- to early 20th-century colonial expansion are Eurocentric and largely concern intervention in Africa and East Asia. (first published in 1902, near the end of the Anglo-Boer War) offers a non-Marxist economic interpretation. (first published in 1916, during World War I) borrows from Hobson while coming to different conclusions. offers a largely political interpretation that European rivalries were extending their struggle outside of Europe. The Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher works reproduced in challenge the idea of the so-called new imperialism of the late 19th century by asserting that European imperialism had been continuous and that political control varied depending on local circumstances and indigenous collaboration. (See and the section in for references to Robinson and Gallagher.) Works cited in this section include some of the best accounts by well-respected theorists.
Other explanations of European expansion
The topic of European imperialist empires has received much attention beginning with the period of decolonization in Asia and continuing into the period of African imperialism that followed World War II. In recent years, the most sustained interest has been with the British Empire, and more attention has been devoted to social issues, than in the earlier literature, which was dominated by political and economic subjects. , which is organized both chronologically and thematically, offers a concise and readable overview of the British Empire for students. and , on 19th- and 20th-century imperialism, respectively, are also readable for students and are especially useful for issues involving the French Empire. is a good survey that covers all colonial empires, while is especially useful for issues involving the German Empire. and are the best overviews on decolonization, with the former more readable for students, while provides the most comprehensive overview and analysis of the policies of European colonial empires from the Congress of Vienna to the Paris Peace Conference.
The wider meanings of imperialism
These journals are available in print and online. and the most often have articles connected with the subject of European imperialism. was the vehicle for John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson (in their article “The Imperialism of Free Trade,” 2nd ser., 6 (1953): 1–15) to start much of the debate on the British preference during the 19th century for “informal Empire,” rather than direct control, in such places as the Ottoman Empire. Of the journals concerned with regions, and the deal the most with issues of European imperialism.