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Age of Imperialism Causes

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1 Age of Imperialism Causes

2 OBJECTIVE(S): Define the term imperialism and relate it to events in the late 1800’s—early 1900’s Explain the motivations of imperialist nations for adopting this foreign policy Evaluate justifications for imperialism 2

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6 Age of Imperialism I. Background
A. Imperialism (the belief in building empires) is a foreign policy in which a strong nation seeks to dominate other countries politically, economically, and/or socially.

7 The colonization that took place during the Age of Exploration is sometimes called the Old Imperialism. The Industrial Revolution help cause a renewed interest in establishing colonies, sometimes called the New Imperialism.

8 II. Causes of Imperialism
Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution caused European countries to want colonies for: large quantities of cheap raw materials

9 Markets to sell their manufactured goods.
A source of making money with high profit for little risk (since they exploited their colonies with mercantilist policies)

10 Nationalism The other motives for imperialism are tied to nationalism—the belief in the superiority of your nation (people with a common culture and history) over others.

11 In addition to the money made from imperialism, European countries also wanted colonies as a matter of prestige and national pride Colonies were also strategic, providing important military bases and convenient coaling stations for steam ships.

12 Missionary motives 1) European Christians believed that they had a duty to spread Christianity to people in Africa and Asia.

13 2) Missionaries—people who go abroad to convert people to their religion—were often the first Europeans to settle in Africa and Asia. 3) Often after missionaries came, more Europeans came for other reasons.

14 2. Europeans had several justifications for imperialism that made them think they had good reasons for what they were doing.

15 a. “White Man’s Burden” Check out this political cartoon and make some guesses as to what “white-man’s burden” meant:


17 1)White Man’s Burden came from a famous poem written by the same guy that wrote the Jungle Book.
It was the belief that it was the duty of white, European countries to “civilize” people in Africa and Asia by bringing European technology and culture to them.

18 b. Social Darwinism 1) Another justification of imperialism was the idea of “Social Darwinism.” 2) Scientist Charles Darwin observed that in nature, species adapt to their environment for survival. Those that don’t adapt, die off. This is the theory of evolution.

19 3) Social scientists applied this idea to society
3) Social scientists applied this idea to society. The said that people that were successful were better adapted and that people who weren’t successful were inferior. 4) To Europeans, this meant that the people who got taken over through imperialism deserved to be taken over because they were weaker and inferior.

20 c. Paternalism 1) Another key idea Europeans used to justify imperialism was paternalism. 2) Paternalism is treating a group of people like they are dependants (in other words, children). 3) Europeans believed that they were like parents to the native people in Africa and Asia. They thought they knew what they needed better than they do.


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